Alumni Class Notes & Club Highlights


Norman L. Hannewald ’51, professor emeritus of music, who during his tenure conducted the University bands and taught brass and music education from 1953–1983, has retired from directing church choirs.


Marilyn Schulz ’54 Kelso celebrated 60 years as a deaconess


Marilyn Schulz ’54 Kelso celebrated 60 years as a consecrated deaconess in June 2014 at the annual meeting of the Lutheran Deaconess Conference held at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.


Loren A. Korte ’57 was recently named director emeritus of Ascentria Care Alliance, formerly Lutheran Social Services. He was chair of the board of directors of Lutheran Social Services of New England from 2002–2006, is the retired president and CEO of D.C. Heath & Company, a publisher of educational materials, and was chairman of the Heath Canada board of directors. Loren also served on the board of directors of the Association of American Publishers.


The Rev. Kenneth F. Bailey ’59 was recognized by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America for 72 years of consecutive service to scouting. He is an Eagle Scout, Ranger Scout, and Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow. He was recognized by The American Legion with The Square Knot Award as well as the Nate Turner Medal. His home parish, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, awarded him the Lamb of God Award for outstanding service to scouting, and the Local Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution presented him with a certificate for Excellence in Community Service. Ken majored in sociology, speech, and drama at Valpo. He was president of Alpha Phi Omega, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Alpha Psi Omega national honorary dramatics fraternity. He is retired and lives in Coconut Creek, Fla.

Duane Noerenberg ’59 is a semi-retired business counselor, enrolled agent, certified administrative manager, and certified systems professional. He works as a part-time finance coordinator for Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, S.D.


Hoeppner Wagner & Evans LLP Attorney Larry Evans ’60, ’62 J.D. was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2015 for multiple litigation fields.

Margaret Riethmeier ’60 Zobel continues to teach several piano students. Occasionally, she substitutes as organist for church services.


After 39 years together, Roberta Brockschmidt ’63 and Sharon Gilligan were married on July 12, 2013, in Ukiah, Calif.


Hoeppner Wagner & Evans LLP attorney John Hughes ’71 J.D. was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2015 for personal injury litigation.


Evanston Piccolo Theatre’s founder and artistic director, John Szostek ’72, has resigned, concluding a two-year succession plan. He also served as Piccolo’s executive director and the director of the annual Custer Fair.

Janet Stein ’72 Carter (who taught part time at Valpo in 1975) retired from full-time teaching as an associate professor of biology at Clermont College of University of Cincinnati in January 2013 to spend time caring for her husband, Richard “Rick” Carter ’73. She continues to teach part time as an emerita faculty member.


Andrew Herrmann ’73 was announced the winner of Engineering News-Record New York’s inaugural Legacy Award.


Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP attorney Robert R. Clark ’76, ’79 J.D. was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2015.


Judge Deborah Thomas ’77 J.D. currently serves as a judge on the Wayne County Third Circuit Court. She was published in The Detroit News on Dec. 30, 2014, for her effort to encourage continued education for criminal defendants. Once placed on probation, the individuals are ordered to obtain their high school diploma or equivalency certificate. This project has improved the lives of many and provides more stable communities in Wayne County, Mich.


Rev. William Yates ’78 was installed as deputy director of the National Guard Bureau Chaplaincy
in Alexandria, Virginia


Attorneys Mark Lienhoop ’78, ’81 J.D. and David Jones ’93 J.D. of the law firm of Newly, Lewis, Kaminski, & Jones LLP in LaPorte have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2015.

The Rev. William Yates ’78, chaplain and colonel, United States Air Force, was installed as deputy director of the National Guard Bureau chaplaincy in May 2014 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Va. William previously served at Calvary Lutheran Church, Indianapolis.


Victor Fitz ’79, ’83 J.D. is the Cass County prosecuting attorney in Southwest Michigan and became president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM) in August 2014. Victor has been the prosecutor in Cass County since 2003 and will continue as PAAM president through August 2015.


Chuck Baldwin ’80 has been re-elected as managing director of Ogletree Deakins, one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management. Chuck has served as Ogletree Deakins’ managing director since 2014 and has held numerous leadership roles with the firm since he joined in 2000 as one of the founding members of the firm’s Indianapolis office. He has served on Ogletree Deakins’ board of directors since 2011 and was previously the managing shareholder of the Indianapolis office.


Lori Vansant Solyom ’81 received an invitation from Illinois State Senator Chris Nybo to serve on a districtwide legislative advisory committee.


J. Scott VanDerbeck ’84 J.D. was re-elected to his fourth term as judge of the LaGrange Circuit Court in LaGrange, Ind.

Randy Zromkoski ’84 J.D., of Blachly, Tabor Bozik & Hartman LLC and adjunct professor of law at Valparaiso University, has accepted the position to serve as chair elect of the Valpo Chamber beginning January 2015.

Dale Clapp ’84, senior vice president, regional chief sales officer, First Merchants Bank, has been awarded with the 2014 Legacy of Service Award from the Valpo Chamber.


Michael LeRose ’85 founded nonprofit Destination 4 Good, which provides opportunities to volunteer while on vacation



Michael LeRose ’85

Michael LeRose ’85 and his family founded a nonprofit organization called Destination4Good, in which they connect individuals and families with opportunities to volunteer while on vacation. While on a trip around the world in 2010, Michael, his wife Marie, and their four children, donated schoolbooks and volunteered time at a rural school in Vietnam. After they saw the impact that this simple gift had on the local school children as well as their own family, they were inspired to form an organization to help other families make a difference while on vacation. The organization has supported numerous projects, including a soccer program for at-risk boys in Cape Town, South Africa, orphanages in Zimbabwe, Mexico, and Peru, and more.

Dawn Douglass ’85 Hall and Dan Hall ’85 moved to Albania in August to use their Valpo education degrees, teaching, and administrative experience to help start a school in an area in need. They heard about the opportunity in October 2013. Less than one year later, they sold their belongings, said goodbye to their four adult children (Andy, 24, Becky, 22, Abby, 20, Zeke, 18), and flew around the world. They took their son Isaac, 12, and daughter Elisabeth, 10, to join in the adventure. The school has grown to 90 students in its first year.

Lee Murphy ’85 earned his Ph.D. in values-driven leadership in May 2014 from Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. Lee was among the first 17 graduates to complete the program, which is designed for senior leaders. Lee is the CEO of Integrated Case Management L3C and currently resides in Wheaton, Ill. He has spent his professional career in employee benefits and organization development consulting.


Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP attorney William C. Wagner ’88, ’92 J.D., was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2015.


Kelly Mitchell ’89 was sworn in as Indiana treasurer of state


Kelly Mitchell ’89 was sworn in as Indiana treasurer of state in November.


Brian Riegler ’92 was appointed by then-Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly to act as the commissioner of the Illinois Educational Opportunities for Military Children Council. In this position, Brian acts as a liaison between the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) and the Illinois Educational Opportunities for Military Children Council and to facilitate dialogue between stakeholders around issues pertaining to educational opportunities for students of military families. He also serves as principal of Waukegan High School, the second largest high school in Illinois.

Dan Wilburn ’92, of R.B. Smith Co., recently attended the Business Leaders Forum 2014 in San Diego, one of two exclusive invitation-only regional events hosted by LPL Financial, an independent

The Rev. Peter Speckhard ’92 appeared as guest pastor on “Worship for Shut-Ins” in September 2014.

To Elizabeth and Brian Riegler ’92: William “Liam” Chenoweth Riegler,
born July 15, 2013.


Attorneys Monica Conrad ’93 J.D. and Elizabeth Barnes ’06 J.D., of Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim, presented at the Indiana School Boards Association’s fall conference in Carmel, Ind., on “Current Issues in Special Education.” Monica and Elizabeth spoke at this one-day seminar for superintendents, general and special education administrators, school board members, and school attorneys. They also presented “Outside Agencies and How to Deal with Them” in October for the fall 2014 ICASE Conference in Indianapolis.


Kelly Horn ’95 has been appointed as care services manager at Settlers Place in LaPorte, Ind.

Bruce Parent ’95 J.D. was appointed by Governor Mike Pence as the new Lake Superior Court Civil Division judge in September 2014.


Heidi Diefenthaler ’96, ’03 MALS Bernardi, a teacher for nine years, has been recognized as one of the Porter County Teachers of Excellence in October 2014.


Attorney Michael Tolbert ’97, ’00 J.D., of Hoeppner Wagner & Evans, was presented the 2014 Rabb Emison Organization Award at the Indiana State Bar Association’s annual meeting in October 2014.


Doug Uehling ’98, a teacher for 15 years, has been recognized as one of the Porter County Teachers of Excellence in June 2014.


In fall 2014, Jodi Boling ’99 M.S. joined the nursing faculty as assistant professor at the University of St. Francis, Crown Point, Ind.

On New Year’s Eve of 2000, Benjeman Nichols ’99 and Brian A. von Rueden ’01 exchanged rings on Benjeman’s apartment balcony in Dresden, Germany. They have had a number of ceremonies with varying levels of legal significance since then. Most notably, on their 10-year anniversary in 2008, they had a ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago. And in 2014, the two were officially married by the state.


The Rev. Kelly K. Faulstich ’00 was married to Justin Svoboda in a ceremony at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Ill. on Nov. 15, 2014. The bride’s attendants included Kim Faulstich ’94 Urbaniak, the Rev. Michael Fick ’00, the Rev. Sarah Friesen-Carper ’01, and Amanda VanHaute ’01 Slagle.


Eric Muller ’01, Major, United States Air Force, was selected as director of operations, first weather squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wa. He will begin his tenure upon completion of a master’s degree from Air Command & Staff College.

To Stefan and Lee Ann Machosky ’01 Pomrenke: Margareta “Greta” Florence Pomrenke, born Oct. 1, 2014. Joins sister Viktoria “Vikta” Sophia, age 4.


Mike Caston ’02 was inducted into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame


Merrillville, Ind. civil rights attorney Trent McCain ’02 J.D. was one of 25 lawyers to be selected to the Indiana State Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy (LDA), a statewide leadership program established to empower and develop lawyers to fill significant leadership roles in bar associations, local communities, and organizations.
Nicole Squires ’02 Wilson, a teacher since 2003, has been recognized as one of the Porter County Teachers of Excellence in January 2015.

Christine Hensley Bullock ’02 M. Ed., a teacher for 20 years, has been recognized as one of the Porter County Teachers of Excellence in December 2014.

photo-ourValpo-baseballMike Caston ’02 was inducted into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014 for his seasons spent with the Gary Steel City Giants.

Reid Lester ’02 runs a nonprofit organi­zation called The Lester Foundation, which trains military veterans to become sports officials while creating an increased sense of community.


Todd Evans ’03 was named Valparaiso High School baseball coach in August 2014. Previously, he served as varsity assistant and with the freshman team.

To Thomas and Leslie Knueppel ’03 Warner: Nicholas Daniel Warner, born Aug. 3, 2014. He joins older brother Bradley Thomas.


Jami Jo Bangert ’04 Studer, is the chief dentist at a community health center in Greenville, S.C. She has lived in Greenville since 2010 with her husband, Wes, and children, Finley and Lennon June.

To Wes and Jami Jo Bangert ’04 Studer: Lennon June Studer, born in Oct. 2013.
To Rachel Reinke ’04 Nevergall and Michael Nevergall ’05: Elliot Dudley Nevergall, born Feb. 21, 2015. Joins sister Caroline. 1


Heidi Nathan-Barry ’05 completed a teaching program in December and graduated with a master of science in adolescence education with a middle childhood extension and concentration in mathematics from Dowling College.

To Brian and Heidi Nathan-Barry ’05: Cordelia Rose Nathan Barry, born Jan. 11, 2015.

To Conly and Jennifer Paskiewicz ’05 Davidson: Twins John Conly “Jack” Davidson and Colette Eloise Davidson, born May 28, 2014.

Little Crusaders

Little Crusaders

To Robert and Lindsie Jung ’05 Fransen: Andrew Edward, born Sept. 11, 2014. 2


Bryan Howell ’07 married Jessica Schaffer on Oct. 18, 2014, in Bloomington, Minn. Bryan graduated with a B.S. in meteorology and Jessica graduated in 2008 from University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

To Bryan Loeffler ’07, ’09 M.A. and Katie Stephen ’07, ’10 J.D. Loeffler: Connor, born Oct. 6, 2014.

To Chris and Amy Pavlock ’07 Lowery: Twins Weston Alexander and Liam Greyson, born Sept. 4, 2014. Join sister Madeline Grace, age 4. 3


Libbi Bartelt ’08 Johnson moved with her husband to Cambridge, United Kingdom, in June 2014.


Brynn Horne ’09 joined American Frozen Food Institute as director of member services.

Julie Remschneider ’09 MALS was hired as program coordinator for the Northwest Indiana Education Service Center in Chesterton where she plans and develops professional development for schools and hosts Curriculum Council meetings with school corporations.

Joshua ’09 and Angela Logan ’09 Martin married July 30, 2011, and reside in Traverse City, Mich. They have a daughter, Hannah Marie Martin, born July 5, 2014.


Jonathan Rudy ’10 won first prize in the American Guild of Organists competition


Sherri Nord ’10 MALS, a teacher for eight years, has been recognized as one of the Porter County Teachers of Excellence in October 2014.

Mandy Chalk ’10 graduated with a master of public affairs from Indiana University South Bend in December 2014.
Jonathan Rudy ’10, son of Dale ’84 and Melinda Meints ’84 Rudy, won first prize in the American Guild of Organists competition in summer 2014.

Richard Amburgey ’10 MALS was recently selected as a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fellow, one of 10 fellows selected nationally, where he will have the opportunity to participate and develop proficiency in the leadership competencies for the office of the Chief Security Officer.


Robert Gorincen ’11 M.A. started NomosNet, a professional social media site for attorneys, which went live in summer 2014.

Krysta Gumbiner ’11 joined Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP as an associate in the Indianapolis office.


Elizabeth Powers ’12 married Daniel Waples ’11 in September 2014.

Michelle Coberg ’12 M.Ed. won an international contest for a video about recycling at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso, Ind.


Alyssa Kasper ’14 is engaged to Eric Gibbons, and they plan to wed in September 2015.

Julia Scheiderer ’14 graduated from the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Leader Development and Assessment Course, also known as “Operation Warrior Forge,” in fall 2014 at Fort Knox, Ky.

Class Notes wants your news! Please send news of weddings, births, deaths; new jobs and promotions; academics and professional degrees; church and community service activities; awards and achievements; and changes of address to Class Notes Editor, Valparaiso University, 1509 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383; Email:; Fax: 219.464.5770. Include your email address to make it easy for your classmates to contact you.



Grays Peak, CO

39° 38’ 02” N 105° 49’ 03” W

Valpo graduates gather for a photo on Grays Peak, a Colorado mountaintop, approximately 14,270 feet above sea level. Photo left to right: Gavin Roy ’10, Danny Knoll ’09, Jeff Wulliman ’12, Kurt Woock ’09, Kati Schmidt ’10 Woock, and Lauren Overstreet ’11 Roy.


Benjeman Nichols ’99 Chicago, Illinois

Alumni in Focus


Benjeman Nichols ’99 was recently named partner at Cavanagh Law Group, one of Chicago’s top personal injury firms, becoming one of the only openly gay plaintiff’s personal injury attorney in Chicago. He specializes in plaintiff’s personal injury law, including medical malpractice, products liability, federal civil rights, and wrongful death. In 2014, Benjamin was selected by The National Trial Lawyers to its Top 40 under 40 and Top 100 Trial Lawyers lists.

What is one of the most notable personal injury cases you have
ever litigated?
In 2014, we obtained a jury verdict of $6.65 million for the family of a United Airlines baggage handler who was fatally injured while exiting an airplane in Kuwait. An employee of a large military contractor negligently operated a device that the baggage handler was on, causing all of the safety mechanisms to fail and the baggage handler to fall to the tarmac below. The defendant maintained innocence throughout trial, but the jury thought otherwise, and justice ultimately carried the day.

Did you study and practice law right after you graduated from Valpo?
Not right away. I studied music education at Valpo. After graduation, I served as a music teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, but my time as a teacher was cut short when I received a Fulbright Scholarship to research East German Lutheran church music in Dresden, Germany. During my time abroad, I took some law classes, and those ultimately prompted me to move back to the United States and study
law full time.

You are originally from the South. How did you choose Valpo?
Several of the matriarchs at my home church in Charlotte, N.C. went to Valpo, and they often suggested that I consider Valpo for college, too. At their behest, I scheduled a campus visit. When I arrived on campus, my mother and I instantly knew I belonged there. Once a student, I became heavily involved with music, admissions, and as an Orientation Assistant.

And you met Brian at Valpo?
My husband, Brian A. Von Rueden ’01, and I were both music majors at Valpo and had several friends in common. He was a leader of Sweetwine when I auditioned in 1998, and during the rehearsals, we came to know one another better. We started dating that fall and have been together ever since.

How did Valpo help guide you to become the person and attorney that you are?
I largely credit my time at Valpo for whatever success I have had. Christ College challenged me to develop critical thinking skills. The music program taught me discipline, problem-solving, and a measure of humility. Being an Orientation Assistant taught me how to connect with people and motivate them for challenges ahead. These things are invaluable for my
work as an attorney.

Howard Lobb ’91

Howard Lobb ’91


Howard Lobb
Class of 1991
Cooperative for Education

In 2001, Howard Lobb ’91 moved to Guatemala to work with Cooperative for Education, an organization that provides textbooks, computer centers, and reading and scholarship programs to improve the quality of education for dis­advantaged youth living in poverty.

During his service, Howard co-founded and directed the company’s Educational Technology Centers program, which helps rural communities establish self-sustaining technology centers in middle schools in partnership with Rotary Foundation, Microsoft, and others. Currently, Howard serves as director of communication and strategic initiatives for the organization. He met his wife, Lucy, during his time at Cooperative for Education, and they live in Guatemala City with their son, Owen, 6.

Diana Stutzman ’12

Diana Stutzman ’12


Diana Stutzman
Class of 2012

Diana Stutzman ’12 Nelson, who serves as research assistant at Corgenix, is part of the team that developed the rapid Ebola test recently approved by The World Health Organization (WHO). Diana was invited to work on the project when Corgenix received a significant grant to develop the test just after the Ebola outbreak garnered national attention.

The new test uses antibodies to identify a specific Ebola virus protein and only takes 15 minutes to produce results, as opposed to previous tests that took several hours.

“The test is similar to a pregnancy test,” says Diana. “There are two lines — a control line and a test line. If the test line becomes dark, that means that there is evidence of the Ebola virus.”

Though she has worked in a variety of capacities since she graduated from Valpo, it was her experience with her peers and professors that sparked her fascination with biochemistry.

“The biochemistry professors were engaged and interested in my success,” she says. “They encouraged project collaboration rather than creating competition between peers. This was extremely formative for me.”

Diana lives in Colorado with her husband, Eric Nelson ’14. The two met at Valpo through co-curricular activities.

Alumni Club Highlights

Valpo Club of Chicago

In February, the Valpo Club of Chicago hosted their 11th annual jazz event at the Polo Café, owned by alumnus David Samber ’72. The Valparaiso University Jazz Ensemble played a wonderful concert featuring a surprise performance by Katie McKoon ’04 Matthews.

Valpo Club of Indianapolis

Alumni and students gathered in both the fall and spring for two networking events in downtown Indianapolis in conjunction with the Career Center’s two-day Career Trek, a program that introduces students to employers and young professionals. Students benefited from the career advice and professional connections formed with the alumni, while alumni had a chance to meet students in the midst of their Valpo experience.

Valpo Club of Milwaukee

Nearly 225 alumni and friends gathered in Milwaukee for a variety of events throughout the academic year. Highlights included a fall dinner at the Red Circle Inn, owned by alumnus Norm Eckstaedt ’80, and a men’s basketball game against University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in February, featuring a pre-game reception at the home of Andy Nunemaker ’91.

Upcoming Events

For more information on upcoming regional and national alumni events, visit