Valparaiso University Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera announced the hiring of Melissa Van Dygriff as the Assistant Director of Athletics for Student Services on Wednesday.

Van Dygriff joins Valpo Athletics after spending the 2016-2017 academic year as the Student Success Specialist at Saint Joseph’s College, where she coached students through comprehensive services to enhance learning, academic success, personal growth, social connections and college retention and completion.

“We are pleased to have an individual with Melissa’s energy and passion for student academic success joining the Valpo Athletics staff,” LaBarbera said. “Her experience across a number of different areas in education combined with her work as a success coach will enable us to continue providing the support our student-athletes need to be champions in the classroom.”

In her role at Valpo, Van Dygriff will manage and coordinate the department’s academic support, life skills and student-athletic advocacy programs and services. She will create, implement and lead the life skills and leadership curriculum and programs for Valpo Athletics, serving as a liaison with faculty, academic advisors and academic support staff. In addition, Van Dygriff will serve as the advisor for Valpo’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Valpo Athletics family,” Van Dygriff said. “I am excited to help student-athletes thrive and succeed on their unique paths.”

LaBarbera also announced the promotion of Candy Jessen to Assistant Director of Athletics for Business Services, effective next week.

“Valpo is a place where I have made many lasting friendships and where I work daily with wonderful people,” Jessen said. “Being given this opportunity means so much to me. I am excited to tackle the new responsibilities and I look forward to continuing to play a role in Valpo Athletics.”

Jessen previously served as the department’s administrative assistant (2003-2017), recruiting secretary (2001-2003) and football administrative assistant (1998-2003).

“Candy has been a part of Valpo Athletics for nearly 20 years,” LaBarbera said. “The relationships she has built around campus and within the department and her strong desire to provide quality opportunities for our student-athletes make her the ideal person to fill this role. As we transition to the Missouri Valley Conference, the thoughtful management of our financial resources takes on more importance. Candy is well equipped to provide that management.”

In addition, LaBarbera announced that Rin Seibert ’76 has been promoted to Director of Recreation Sports/Associate Director of Athletics.

“Rin has been the heart and soul of recreational sports on the Valpo campus for more than 30 years,” LaBarbera said. “Her commitment to the health and well-being of our students is unmatched. She is recognized as one of the leaders in recreational sports in Indiana and nationally. It is appropriate that her title reflect her senior position within Valpo Athletics and the importance of recreational sports on our campus.”

Seibert has led recreational sports at Valpo since August 1980. During that time, she has won numerous awards and honors, a product of her dedication to her craft and passion for her position.

“For the past 37 years, I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing team of colleagues within the Department of Athletics, Department of Kinesiology and our Recreational Sports staff,” Seibert said. “It is an honor to work at Valpo and spend each day with our amazing students. I am thankful to work at a university that I love and look forward to continuing to foster opportunities for our students through campus recreation, athletics and physical education.”

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