Thanks to generous alumni, Valparaiso University has received a $2 million commitment for endowed faculty fellowships in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the College of Engineering. Four fellowships will be established in each college with the support of Joyce Hagen ’79 and Donald Fites ’56.

“We deeply appreciate Joyce and Don’s philanthropic support of Valpo,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “These endowed fellowships will provide resources in perpetuity for faculty to pursue scholarly and pedagogical projects, grow professionally, and stay at the forefront of their fields. Their professional advancement will lead to better teaching, research and service for our students and contribute to the growing national and international reputations of Valparaiso University in Engineering, Nursing, and the Health Professions.”

Hagen and Fites have designated the Valpo colleges from which they graduated for the faculty fellowships. Hagen earned a bachelor of science in nursing, and the Joyce Hagen Endowed Faculty Fellowship will fund faculty opportunities at the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Fites earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering, and the Don Fites Endowed Faculty Fellowships will fund faculty opportunities within the College of Engineering.

Joyce Hagen has held leadership positions throughout her career in health care, including president of Passport HealthPlan, national consultant for Ernst and Young, and chief marketing and development officer for AmeriHealth Mercy.

Don Fites retired as chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. in 1999, after spending more than 42 years with the company. He has served on the board of directors of numerous corporations, including Exxon Mobil, Georgia Pacific, and AT&T.

The fellowships will support the scholarly and pedagogical projects of faculty within the designated colleges, including grant writing, publishing, presenting, and new course development. The awards will be made through a competitive process, selected by a faculty committee and approved by the University provost and dean of the colleges.

“Joyce and I have benefited greatly from the wisdom and dedication of Valparaiso University’s faculty members, particularly in our chosen fields of health care and engineering,” Fites said. “These fellowships are our way of saying thanks to those faculty who guided us and to encourage and reward current and future faculty so that they may continue to inspire others.”

In addition to their philanthropic support, Hagen and Fites are actively engaged with Valparaiso University in many other areas. Hagen is a member of the Board of Directors and co-chair of Valpo’s upcoming campaign, currently in the leadership gifts phase. She also previously served on the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ National Council. Fites served on the Board of Directors from 1992 to 2014, was co-chair of the “Our Valpo, Our Time” campaign, and provided the lead gift for the Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center.

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