End of Year — Class of 2020

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Dear Class of 2020:

You’ve made it. The journey that you began at Valparaiso University is coming to a close, and while none of us could have anticipated it ending the way it has, you have all faced the adversity and motivated your classmates, professors, and even me through your perseverance and fortitude.

I am grateful for your dedication, your enthusiasm, your creativity, and your contributions that enrich this special community, one that is called to seek truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope. The ways in which you’ve grown over the past few years and advanced the mission and vision of this University have been a testament to your character and the Valpo spirit.

The disruption of these last weeks will not ultimately define your Valpo experience as you reflect back upon your years in this place. Your time at Valpo has been filled with experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. You received accolades for academic achievement and impressed audiences with musical, theatrical, and athletic talents and performances. You conducted undergraduate research and presented at regional and national conferences. You met new people from around the world and shared in cross-cultural dialogue. You participated in internships and experiential learning opportunities to further your education. You served communities near and far — volunteering through the Day of Caring and Café Manna, devoting your Spring Break to service trips domestically and abroad, and raising funds through SALT’s World Relief Campaign and Dance Marathon, among many, many charitable endeavors. You even found new ways to advance these efforts this spring thanks to digital platforms! Your myriad accomplishments will continue to shape this community of learning for many years to come.

I want to ensure you that your accomplishments have been noticed, and I look forward to celebrating each of your successes and futures when it is appropriate to do so. We know you and your families are excited to celebrate graduation as it is such an important moment and the culmination of all your hard work. We will be scheduling a commencement ceremony in the future and will let you know through your Valpo email as soon as possible when that date is scheduled. In the meantime, we would be happy to mail your diploma in its official case so you can take pictures with family and friends to mark the occasion. All you have to do is make a request through DataVU so we make sure we have your correct address (information can be found here). You also may request to have your cap and gown mailed to you free of charge from the bookstore. Details for this process were sent to you in a separate email. We would love to share in your celebration so please email your picture to imc@valpo.edu to include on social media and use #ValpoGrad2020.

For your convenience, if you or your family have any graduation or commencement questions, feel free to email commencement@valpo.edu.

As you begin to navigate the next phase of your journey, look to the example of the many Valparaiso University alumni that have come before you. Join the Alumni Association community and find a mentor who can help you achieve your dreams and push you to unlock your potential.

I wish you God’s blessings as you pursue your dreams, act with integrity, and search for truth with confidence and thoughtfulness during this next chapter of your lives. I have no doubt you will continue your success as you go out into the world. I hope you stay in touch, with me and with your faculty mentors, and share your success stories with your alma mater.

I encourage you to take First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s words to heart. Believe in your dreams, follow your passions — know that, despite the uncertainties of the moment, your future is waiting.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.
Valparaiso University