Dear Students and Colleagues,

In the coming days, we will gather with family and friends in gratitude for the many blessings we have received from our Creator and God. The annual season of Thanksgiving, a uniquely American tradition, gives all of us a welcome respite from the demands of a busy academic year. We gain time to reflect upon the relationships that sustain us, in times of joy as well as in times of sorrow, here at the University, at home, and in our communities.

At this Thanksgiving, I wish to express my profound and heartfelt gratitude to you. I am so very thankful for every person who is part of the Valparaiso University community—students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and friends. We are blessed to live in an exceptionally uplifting and welcoming community. We are a community that values all people, that is enriched immeasurably by the wide range of talents, backgrounds, and beliefs of our colleagues, classmates, professors, and staff members. We are a community that comes together to respectfully discuss our differences. We are a community that both hears and responds to Jesus’ call to serve those around us in need.

During the past few months, we have come together as a community to celebrate the rich cultural traditions and history of Spanish-speaking nations during Valpo’s Hispanic Heritage Month Dinner. We have shared ideas about how to strengthen peace, justice, equality, and unity among communities both locally and globally during the Peace and Justice Symposium. Students, faculty, and staff have helped ease the suffering of our Northwest Indiana neighbors who are hungry by packing nearly 90,000 meals. And last night, hundreds of members of our campus community gathered for a Thanksgiving feast that introduced many of our international students to this traditional American celebration of gratitude for God’s many blessings.

In these and numerous other ways, Valparaiso University and its people demonstrate a commitment to hospitality and love whose strength is matched by few other institutions of higher education in the world. Together, we meaningfully engage with and uplift one another and communities both near and far. This is why, in my Thanksgiving prayers, I lift your name in gratitude, for the blessing you are in my life, and the many ways in which I feel nurtured and sustained by your hospitality and your love.

May this season be a time of great thanksgiving, bountiful blessings, and abundant giving in each of your lives and in the lives of those whom you hold dear. And may God’s promise of new life bring you peace, joy, and hope each and every day.

With heartfelt gratitude,


Mark A. Heckler