Valparaiso University will celebrate Winter Commencement on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2:30 p.m., conferring degrees upon 163 undergraduate, graduate and law students.

The speaker is Jon Costas ’89 J.D., who has served as mayor of the city of Valparaiso since 2003 and will retire at the end of his current term. Costas holds a B.A. in business from St. Joseph’s College, a J.D. from the Valparaiso University School of Law, and a master’s in theology. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in transformational leadership.

“We are incredibly grateful for Mayor Costas’ commitment to collaborate with the University through his years of service, and it is an honor and a blessing to welcome him as our commencement speaker,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “The relationship between town and gown has flourished throughout Mayor Costas’ four terms as our mayor, as together we have worked to build a diverse, prosperous and sustainable community.”

Costas began his political career in 1995, winning an at-large seat on the Valparaiso City Council, and was elected mayor in 2003. He has established a reputation as a collaborative leader who advocates both careful planning and bold action. Valparaiso has flourished under his transformational leadership and gained national recognition for its vibrant downtown and award winning Central Park Plaza. He has also been instrumental in helping to diversify city government, appointing the first African American to a city board and overseeing the hiring of the city’s first African American police officer.

In addition to his political service, Costas has been a small business owner for 40 years and is an attorney with Burke, Costanza and Carberry LLP. He has served on many boards and commissions, including 10 years on Indiana’s Higher Education Commission and as an ex-officio member of Valparaiso’s Town and Gown Committee.

Visit valpo.edu/commencement-dec for more information about Valparaiso University’s Commencement ceremony.