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 Heckler

Mark A. Heckler
2008 – 2020

Alan-Harre

Alan F. Harre
1988 – 2008

Robert-Schnabel

Robert V. Schnabel
1978 – 1988

Horace-Evans

Horace M. Evans
1923-1926

John-Roessler

John E. Roessler
1921-1922

president-no_photo

Aaron Gurney
1869-1871

Thomas-Bond-Wood

Thomas Bond Wood
1867-1869

B Wilson Smith

B. Wilson Smith
1864-1867

Charles-Sims

Charles N Sims
1860-1862