Entrance Torch 2

Past Presidents

Since Valparaiso University was established in 1859 as a pioneer of coeducation, its presidents have led it through rapidly, sometimes dramatically changing times. Their stories offer a brief glimpse of Valpo’s challenges and triumphs as it developed into a premier Lutheran university focused on the lifelong pursuit of truth and the development of the skills necessary to lead and serve communities.

The group of Methodist regional leaders who formed Valpo’s first board of trustees elected the Rev. Charles N. Sims as its first president, but when Sims had to defer his arrival for a term, Francis D. Carley was named acting president. Carley, one of the five original faculty members (and the only male), was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. In 1859, 75 students attended classes, and by the end of the first term, enrollment grew to 175. Learn more about Valpo’s past presidents below.

Colette Irwin-Knott

Colette Irwin-Knott Interim President 2020 – 2021

Mark A. Heckler

Mark A. Heckler 2008 – 2020

Alan F. Harre

Alan F. Harre 1988 – 2008

Robert V. Schnabel

Robert V. Schnabel 1978 – 1988

Albert G. Huegli

Albert G. Huegli 1968-1978

William H.T. Dau

William H.T. Dau 1926-1929

Horace M. Evans

Horace M. Evans 1923-1926

John E. Roessler

John E. Roessler 1921-1922

Henry Kinsey Brown

Henry Kinsey Brown 1919-1920

Henry Baker Brown

Henry Baker Brown 1873-1917

Valparaiso University Seal

Aaron Gurney 1869-1871

Thomas Bond Wood

Thomas Bond Wood 1867-1869

B. Wilson Smith

B. Wilson Smith 1864-1867

Charles N Sims

Charles N Sims 1860-1862