Aug. 9, 2022– Valparaiso, Indiana – The Valparaiso University College of Engineering is beginning a three-pronged plan to enhance the College by modernizing aspects of the curriculum, initiating new summer programing, and widening the scope of Valpo’s community outreach.  This work is made possible through a $25,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation. 

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity and very excited about the potential for us to be able to move our programs forward,” said Doug Tougaw ’05 MBA, Ph.D., P.E., dean of the College of Engineering.

Academically, the focus will be to enhance the college’s engineering ethics course — a required class for all engineering students that covers issues such as sustainability, working in an intense geo-political environment, and applying engineering codes of ethics. The grant funding will modernize the curriculum and add aspects of entrepreneurial mindset to the course. 

The College of Engineering is also taking the first steps to begin a summer engineering camp for high school juniors and seniors. The program would give participants insight into the experience of working as an engineer and inspire them to pursue the subject. While initially aiming to enroll 25 students in the summer of 2023, Dean Tougaw hopes that the number could reach up to 150 students in the future.

Finally, a major part of this plan is community outreach towards K-12 students. Focusing on young women and historically underrepresented groups, the initiatives will encourage more students to take an interest in studying engineering and STEM as a whole. While the geographic extent of these initiatives is currently undefined, Dean Tougaw has high hopes for the potential of the programs.

“Our ultimate goal would be to reach out to every student in Northwest Indiana,” Dean Tougaw said. 

About the Kern Family Foundation

Established in 1998 by Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, the Kern Family Foundation empowers the rising generation of Americans to build flourishing lives anchored in strong character, inspired by quality education, driven by an entrepreneurial mindset, and guided by the desire to create value for others. 

To learn more about the Valparaiso University College of Engineering, visit