Valparaiso University announces that Michael C. Chikeleze, Ph.D., has joined its faculty as the Richard C. and Francelia A. Gozon University Chair in Values-Based Leadership.Michael Chikeleze portrait

Chikeleze, a leadership scholar, professional and educator, has a distinguished background in teaching, developing partnerships and collaborating with broad audiences about the role of leadership education within higher education.

The new University Chair in Values-Based Leadership is the result of the generous endowment created by Francelia “Fran” and Richard “Dick” Gozon ’60. The endowed fund will provide permanent support for the initiative to embed values-based leadership into curriculum and experiential programs within majors across the University. The inaugural position will, through teaching, mentoring, coordination and oversight, align and integrate the University’s current and future curricular, co-curricular and experiential activities related to leadership into curricular and co-curricular programs, both credit- and non-credit-bearing.

“When the idea of integrating values, character, ethics and integrity into the overall student experience at Valpo was first formed, Fran and I knew it was an initiative that was of great interest to us,” Dick Gozon said. “Valpo has greatly influenced our lives and we are blessed to be in a position to support an initiative that will help shape the lives of future students. We believe that values-based leadership is a learned skill and supports the premise that all students can become effective leaders and live lives of impact, in whatever their chosen field of study and endeavor. We would expect people to take notice that this is a conscious part of the students’ educational experience at Valpo.”

Dick Gozon earned a bachelor of arts in business, currently serves on the Presidential Council of Advisors, served on the College of Business National Council from 2003–2010 and received the Valparaiso University Alumni Achievement Award in 2002.

“We are so pleased that Professor Chikeleze will be joining us as the Gozon Chair. His background as a scholar and educator of leadership education make him an excellent fit for the position,” said Richard A. Gillman, D.A., interim provost. “We look forward to the thoughtful and impactful voice that Professor Chikeleze will bring to our discussions about leadership education at Valparaiso University.”

In his role as University Chair, Chikeleze will teach, mentor and coordinate opportunities for the campus community to better understand leadership education and how it contributes to the mission and vision of Valparaiso University.

“I am humbled to be selected as the Gozon Chair at Valparaiso University. Through the generosity of Dick and Fran Gozon, this gift provides the University a unique opportunity to bring even more intentionality to our mission of preparing students for leadership and service,” Chikeleze said. “My goal is to collaborate with faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community to help provide a transformative, values-based leadership educational experience.”

Chikeleze will be the first occupant of the Gozon Chair. Prior to joining the Valpo faculty, he served as an associate professor in the leadership studies doctoral program at Xavier University. He also served as department chair and as the Dalton Woods Associate Professor of Leadership Studies in the Department of Leadership Studies at Louisiana State University-Shreveport.

Chikeleze holds a bachelor of science in economics from Enugu State University of Science and Technology, a juris doctorate and master of business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and a doctorate in philosophy from Benedictine University.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Leadership Association and is also active in the Association of Leadership Educators and Network of Leadership Scholars of the Academy of Management. Chikeleze regularly participates and serves as a commentator, chair, discussant and reviewer for peer-reviewed presentations at these organizations’ academic conferences. His research agenda focuses on ethical leadership, and he has published articles in peer-reviewed academic leadership journals, such as the Journal of Leadership Studies and the Journal of Leadership Education.

The Gozons’ $4 million gift supports Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, a $250 million endowment campaign focused on raising permanent support for student scholarships, faculty development and programs. Forever Valpo was officially launched on Sept. 23, 2016, and has raised more than $254 million.