MLK Awards

Martin Luther King Jr. Award

Each year, as part of Valparaiso University’s annual celebration of the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., an award is made to the person(s) or organization(s) making significant and lasting contributions to continue to create an environment where diversity is honored and respected on campus and within the broader community.

The Valparaiso University Martin Luther King Jr. Award provides special recognition to individuals and groups on our campus who have lived King’s vision through their words and deeds. This award is one more way to ensure that the legacy of King remains in the minds and hearts of our students, faculty, and staff throughout the academic year and not just on the MLK Day celebration on the third Monday in January.

Each fall, nominations are sought for the award and a panel of five individuals, appointed by the MLK Day Steering Committee co-chairs, will evaluate the nominees considering their contributions (or potential contributions) on campus and in the broader community for leading long-term, positive impacts on the racial climate; serving as role models who value racial diversity; and enlisting others in creative ways to improve the racial climate and enhance diversity.

Any current Valpo student, faculty, staff, administrator, or Student Senate-recognized campus organization is eligible for nomination. So keep the MLK Award in mind throughout the academic year as you go about campus living and learning, and nominate those who you feel deserve to win this award based on their demonstrated contributions and commitment.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Drum Major Instinct Award

The Valparaiso University Martin Luther King Jr. Community Drum Major Instinct Award is bestowed upon an individual who selflessly engages in daily acts of service, contributing to the improvement of their community, Northwest Indiana, our state, our country, and our world. This award is a tribute to someone who demonstrates exceptional dedication and commitment by generously offering their time, talents, treasure, and service in the pursuit of justice, equity, equality, and humanity. Moreover, their work serves as an exemplary embodiment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s values, beliefs, life, and legacy.

  • 2023: Michael Chikeleze, Ph.D.
  • 2022: Richard Sévère, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
  • 2021: Honoring Lou Jeanne Walton ’60
  • 2020: Amanda Zelechoski, J.D, Ph.D.
  • 2019: Christina Hearne ‘15 (Crawley)
  • 2018: Geoffrey Heeren, LL.M., J.D., and Tatiana Hurtado ’04, ’10 MBA
  • 2017: Dr. Heath Carter, Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Valparaiso Human Relations Council; and Faisal Kutty, Associate Professor of Law and Director, International LL.M. Program
  • 2016: Charles Schaefer
  • 2015: Valpo Men’s Soccer Team, Larry Baas, and Zahra Nwabara
  • 2014: Stacy Hoult-Saros ‘15 GC
  • 2013: Allison Schuette ’93, Professor Liz Wuerffel ’00, and Mr. Holly Singh, ’98, ’05 MALS
  • 2012: Ivan Bodensteiner, NaTasha Henry ’04, ’06 MALS, and the Black Law Students Association
  • 2011: Zhimin Lin
  • 2010: Alan Bloom and the Peace and Social Justice Symposium: Jane Bello Brunson and Delphina (Del) Hopkins Gillispie, co-founders Hopkins-Gillispie, co-founders
  • 2009: Roy Austensen and Renu Juneja
  • 2008: Ryan Freeman-Jones ’08, ‘10 M.S. and Gregory Jones
  • 2007: Rev. Dr. Alan F. Harre
  • 2006: Dr. James Kingsland ’82 J.D.
  • 2005 Asian American Association, Black Student Organization, and Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence
  • 2004: Jane Bello-Brunson
  • 2003: Bill Marion Jr.
  • 2002: Rev. David Kehret
  • 2001: Hugh McGuigan
  • 2000 Judith Erwin-Neville and Valpo Gospel Choir
  • 1999 Jane Claiborne ’01, ’04 MALS
  • No Award was given in 1998
  • 1997 Valpo Faculty Jazz Trio
  • 1996 Walter Reiner and Karl Lutze ’80H
  • 1995: Lou Jeanne Walton ’60