Welcome Back

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
— Plato
“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
— Harriet Tubman
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”
— Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Good morning, Valpo!

Today we embark on a new academic year at Valparaiso University. Some will begin and others will continue on our shared journeys of discovery as we seek truth, serve generously, and cultivate hope.

This time of year at Valpo is always filled with vibrancy and passion. Today is no different, as everyone prepares for classes and reunites with friends. 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 excitement that comes with being part of Valpo on this first day of classes.

For those of you returning to campus after time away, welcome back! Some of us remained on campus this summer, and we look forward to hearing about your experiences and adventures and sharing updates of what’s happened here at home.

To new students, faculty, and staff: welcome to your new home. Each of us plays a vital role in contributing to our diverse community. People from all walks of life come together to share in dialogue and discernment at this University, to be part of something bigger and make the world a better place. We look forward to the impact you will have as you reach your full potential.

This afternoon at Opening Convocation, I will share a few thoughts about finding your place at Valpo. Then, the incoming class will receive the Shield of Character and sign the honor code: I have neither given nor received, nor have I tolerated others’ use of unauthorized aid. The honor code is a pledge that epitomizes living a life of honesty and integrity as members of the Valpo community.

As the fall semester continues, we will each be busy with assignments, meetings, and events. In the midst of your busy schedules, I hope you will take time for prayer and quiet reflection, whether at 10 a.m. Morning Prayer in the Chapel of the Resurrection or during a break between classes or meetings. Take the time to reflect, to make room in your heart so that God might come to you with hope and a future, to become more focused and fulfilled.

I have so many prayers for each of you. I pray your beginning is a good one. I pray that you summon the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for those stars. I pray that your pursuit of truth reveals new insights and greater understanding of yourself and your calling in the world. With God’s help and our shared commitment, this extraordinary University will equip you and empower you to change the world.

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


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.