“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change the ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

For many, Thanksgiving is a day set aside for food, family, parades, and football. Each year at Thanksgiving, families and friends gather to continue to share their traditions and give thanks. In my family, we are celebrating with two of our four children and three of our nine grandchildren, two of whom are up on their feet for the first time and bumping into everything. We’ll give thanks for all of our blessings, teach the babies how to eat with a spoon, the ladies will look at the “circulars” and plan their shopping strategy, and we’ll all share a wonderful meal, beginning with pumpkin pie for breakfast (my favorite).

As a holiday, Thanksgiving is celebrated one day a year, but we can we strive to live each day throughout the year in active thanksgiving. For as the inspirational writer William Arthur Ward suggests, when we portray gratitude in our daily lives, when we strive each day to live with a grateful heart and to be aware of our many blessings, it touches each part of our lives and those around us.

At Valpo, we have so much for which to be thankful: friends, colleagues, and our shared commitment to learning; a campus filled with diversity of perspectives, cultures, expressions, and talents; remarkable student organizations, clubs, ensembles, and teams; and inspiring events that educate and unite us. And we can be especially thankful for our institutional ethos, as a University committed unequivocally to the common pursuit of truth, the shared aspiration for excellence, the cultivation of human virtues and flourishing, and dialogue and mutual respect across our differing perspectives and experiences.

I am truly thankful to count each of you among the many blessings God has bestowed upon Valparaiso University. And I want to thank you for all that you do, each and every day, to make this University a distinctive and inviting place where together we pursue truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope.

I hope this Thanksgiving fills your heart with grateful moments, love of family and friends, and prayers of thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings, today and each day to come.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.
Valparaiso University