Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., is in his 12th year of service as the 18th president of Valparaiso University, founded in 1859. President Heckler is a dedicated educator with 40 years of experience as a professor, dean, provost, and president.
Under his leadership, the University diversified and expanded, launching numerous new undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He has also overseen the groundbreaking and dedications of more than seven new campus facilities and has established the Institute for Leadership and Service at Valparaiso University. President Heckler currently leads the $250 million Forever Valpo endowment-focused campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the University’s history.
President Heckler participates actively on numerous national and regional higher education boards and commissions, including previously serving as the chair of the Leadership Commission of the American Council on Education, and board chair of the New American Colleges and Universities, the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Indiana Campus Compact, and the One Region initiative for Northwest Indiana. He is currently a board member for the Council of Independent Colleges and the national Private College 529 Plan.
Previously, President Heckler served the University of Colorado Denver for more than a decade, including five years as provost and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the three-campus university, including its health sciences center. Prior to moving to Denver, he was professor of fine arts and director of theatre at Siena (New York) College, where he directed, acted in, designed, and/or produced more than 100 academic and professional productions in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He is also a past president of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and founded and co-directed its Leadership Institute.
President Heckler earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership and innovation from the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado. He completed his MFA in drama with an emphasis in directing at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and earned his B.A. in communications summa cum laude at Elizabethtown (Pennsylvania) College.
President Heckler and his wife, Veronica, grew up together in Windber, Pennsylvania. The Hecklers are parents of four children, enjoy the blessings of nine grandchildren, and are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.