“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust, 20th century French novelist

Good morning, Valpo!

Today we embark on a new academic year at Valparaiso University, where we continue our individual and collective voyages to pursue truth, and we welcome our new students who join us on this shared journey.

This time of year is always filled with great enthusiasm and energy. Today is no exception, as the campus rings with activity. Whether you are a returning student, faculty, or staff member or joining us on campus for the very first time, I hope you experience the invigoration that comes with being part of our University community on this first day of classes.

For those of you returning to campus, welcome back! Those of us who have been here this summer look forward to hearing about your time away. We relish the opportunity to embark on another exceptional year of truth-seeking, dialogue, and collaboration.

To new students, faculty, and staff: welcome to your new home. Each of you will play a vital role in contributing to this community of learning as we work together to embody the virtues of humility, integrity, generosity, leadership, and service that distinguish this University. At Valpo, we aim to be a beacon of light as we show the world what it could be like to live in a community where people of various races, creeds, and walks of life come together to share in dialogue and discernment. For it is through this dialogue and discernment that we discover how our commonalities — as well as our differences — enrich both our individual and collective understandings of truth. Or as Marcel Proust suggests, we aim to model for others what it looks like to explore truth through new eyes.

This essential component of our ethos, rooted in our unique Lutheran ethos, makes Valpo an incomparable community of higher learning. Indeed, Valparaiso University remains a special place because of its distinctive character, and we are delighted to have you join us on this journey. We look forward to the important contributions you will make both here and throughout the world.

Consonant with these qualities of character, integrity, and the pursuit of truth, this afternoon at Opening Convocation, the incoming class will process into the Chapel of the Resurrection, receive the Shield of Character, and sign the honor code: I have neither given or received, nor have I tolerated others’ use of unauthorized aid. The honor code is a pledge that symbolizes our shared commitment to modeling integrity as members of the Valpo community. In this place, we hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard.

As the fall semester progresses, each of us will soon become immersed in assignments, meetings, and events. In the midst of this busy season, I hope you will set aside time for quiet discernment, whether at 10 a.m. Morning Prayer in the Chapel, during one of our evening or weekend worship offerings, or during a break in your studies or meetings. Taking time to reflect often allows us room to become more focused and fulfilled.

This year, I pray that your truth-seeking journey will be filled with revelation and wonder and that our Valpo community will continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge as we uplift one other on this remarkable adventure we share.

May this coming year bring you all of God’s blessings.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.