“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Spring Break is nearly here: a respite from lectures, presentations, papers, and exams. Time for students to set aside the demands of the semester to relax and recharge, reconnect with family and friends, and embark on new journeys.
Meanwhile, many of our dedicated faculty and staff will remain on campus, busy preparing for the coming weeks as May Commencement quickly approaches.
At Valpo, we seek to develop women and men of great knowledge and character who commit themselves to the pursuit of truth and the creation of enduring change. We place great importance on connecting academic study, service experience, and future aspirations to prepare students to lead and serve for the sake of the world.
This spring, Valpo students, faculty, and staff will dedicate time during Spring Break to serving communities near and far, to expanding their worldview, and to demonstrating excellence through athletic competition:
- MBA students will travel to Costa Rica to meet with business leaders and learn about the Costa Rican business culture.
- Professors Terry Kessler, Gail Kost, Chris Kurtz, and Elise Alverson, along with 10 nursing and health science students, will travel to Thailand to continue the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ collaboration with McCormick School of Nursing at Payap University. Additional groups from the College of Nursing and Health Professions will travel to Central America, Chile, China, Germany, and a Native American reservation in White Earth, Minnesota, as well as a collaborative trip with the political science department in the College of Arts and Sciences to Ireland.
- Two academic courses will take place in Israel and Palestine: Encounters in the Holy Land with Professor George Heider and International Humanitarian Law with Professor Robert Knowles.
- Additional academic trips include Professor Kevin Gary, of the education department, traveling to Peru; and Interim Dean Jennifer Prough, Christ College, and Professor Polly Wainwright, computing and information sciences, to Japan.
- The Chapel will sponsor two trips: Sweetwine, a 12-person music ministry group, will serve in several rehabilitation and nursing centers, senior and supportive living centers, and churches in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and New York City; and Pastor Charlene Cox will lead a group to Holden Village in Chelan, Washington, where they will spend a week “off the grid” seeking contemplation and community in a mountain setting, through the theology course Exploration in Christian Theology and Spirituality of Place.
- WAVES (Working Across Vocations Everywhere through Service) will continue their work at Pwoje Espwa, an orphanage in Les Cayes, Haiti, that provides food, shelter, and education to nearly 350 children.
- The Union will send 102 travelers on seven service trips, dedicating more than 4,000 hours to service. One group will spend a week in Milwaukee, experiencing a deep reflection into personal theology and witness of faith, while the other six groups go to different sites around Houston and Southeast Texas to help with disaster relief efforts.
- The men’s and women’s basketball teams will compete in their first Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments, and competition continues for spring sports, including women’s bowling, softball, baseball, women’s and men’s golf, women’s and men’s tennis, and women’s and men’s track.
- Following a concert in our Chapel of the Resurrection on Thursday, March 1, the Chorale will continue its spring tour, traveling to Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.
Each year, we gather together as a community for a special blessing for all those traveling on a service trip. I encourage you to attend this send-off service, which will take place at Friday’s Morning Prayer Service at 10 a.m. in the Chapel of the Resurrection.
Students, no matter how you choose to spend the next couple weeks — cheering in the stands at Arch Madness in St. Louis or Hoops in the Heartland in Moline, Illinois, relaxing at home with family, soaking in the sun on the beach with friends, or studying in the library and preparing to finish the semester strong — I urge you to keep Martin Luther King Jr.’s words in mind. You have the ability to be a blessing and make a difference here on campus, in your hometown, and around the world. As a member of the Valparaiso University community, you are called to engage in the larger world, to seek truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope.
I pray for safe travels for each of you and that you return refreshed and eager to continue your pursuit of knowledge through the remainder of the semester.
Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.