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Data Science and Statistics Degrees Introduced at Valpo

Data science and statistics degree programs have been developed in response to an increased demand for professionals in these fields. Students in the data science and statistics programs will be given the skills to maximize their potential in the growing big data field through rigorous study of vital skills such as machine learning, statistical modeling, data mining, and experimental design as well as specialized courses focused on specific niches of the data market.

Where Are They Now

For the 23rd consecutive year, more than 90 percent of recent Valpo graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school. 2014–2015 graduates achieved a 92.3 percent placement rate.

“Our alumni consistently achieve career and graduate school placement at extraordinary locations throughout the world and continue to exemplify the high standards of excellence we hold at Valparaiso University,” says Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president. “Their success is a testament to Valpo’s intellectually rigorous and innovative education, as well as our gifted faculty and dedicated staff, who provide the resources and mentoring necessary for graduates to thrive in work and life.”

  • The class of 2014–2015 has proven that the Valpo network is both local and global.
  • The high-achieving alumni are currently employed or studying in 35 states and 4 foreign countries, and just over 37 percent have chosen to stay in Indiana.
  • Many are involved in full-time service, with alumni serving at AmeriCorps, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, and other reputable organizations.
  • Two members of the class are currently in the Armed Forces.

A Grant for Good

With a $149,109 grant from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, the University will be able to help more low-income students graduate from college. Valpo’s Persistence and Success Program is open to 21st Century Scholars and Frank O’Bannon Scholars, many of whom are first-generation students. The program focuses on transition-to-­college, academic and social support, career preparation, and financial literacy. After successfully completing the program as freshmen, participants will be eligible for a $500 scholarship during their
sophomore year.

Valparaiso University Marks of Quality

Valparaiso University consistently achieves national recognition in innumerable fields, including value, programming, public good, and military friendliness. Here are just a few of the rankings:

  • U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranked Valpo No. 5 in the
  • Valpo appeared on the U.S. News Best Value list, ranking first among Midwestern regional universities.
  • The Washington Monthly ranked Valpo No. 1 in the nation for contribution to public good among master’s universities.
  • Valpo is included in Victory Media’s Military Friendly Schools list, which honors the top 15 percent of higher education institutions in the country that do the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

Recognizing Our Christian Heritage

College Choice ranked Valpo No. 1 overall in the 2015 Fifty Best Christian Colleges and Universities list and No. 2 overall in the 2015 Rankings of Midwestern Regional Universities. The independent college search and rankings website focuses on factors college freshmen say are most important to their college decision such as academic reputation, net cost, and post-graduation success.

Representing a diversity of faith traditions, 26 percent of Valpo students are Lutheran, 26 percent Catholic, 32 percent other Christian faiths, and 16 percent other. Current students are able to choose from 11 weekly services in the Chapel of the Resurrection, and many students are involved with ministries at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center. In addition, Valpo’s more than 130 student organizations include the faith-based Social Action Leadership Team, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Muslim Students Association.

Kreft Chair

Theresa Kessler, Ph.D., professor of nursing, was inducted as the Kreft Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science. Professor Kessler teaches a variety of nursing courses, and her areas of expertise include adult health, management/leadership, and advanced practice. She received the 2014 Valparaiso University Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award.

Alfreeda Goff Athlete of the Year

Valpo junior Liz Bloy ’17 was named the Alfreeda Goff Female Athlete of the Year for her performances throughout the 2016 outdoor season.

She led the women’s track and field team during the outdoor campaign with her standout performances in the middle distance events.

The award was the second major honor from the Horizon League for Liz this year, as she was previously named the Outstanding Female Running Performer at the league’s indoor championship meet. The league’s Athlete of the Year award was renamed to the Alfreeda Goff Athlete of the Year Award this past offseason in honor of former Horizon League senior associate commissioner Alfreeda Goff.

Valpo Celebrates Shakespeare Week

Christ College, along with the English and theatre departments, hosted Shakespeare Week. Highlights included scenes from Shakespeare’s classic plays “Romeo and Juliet” and “MacBeth,” presented by the Actors from the London Stage.

An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

The University expands its efforts to graduate values-based leaders with a minor in entrepreneurship. Students will establish a foundation in cooperation, leadership, innovation, performance, and social responsibility.

“At Valpo, we’re committed to fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial culture as we equip women and men with the skills necessary to thrive in a global economy,” says James D. Brodzinski, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business.

On Bioethics

Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D., senior research professor of theology, was invited to Princeton University to present the Charles E. Test, M.D., Distinguished Lecture. He was also honored at the Princeton University conference “Politics, Theology, and the Limits of Ethics,” celebrating his work in bioethics. His lecture, titled “Posthuman or Perfected Human?: Biotechnical Enhancement and the History of Redemption,” reflected on a significant bioethics topic concerning attempts to enhance human nature, either by enabling superior performance, altering mood, or prolonging life.

The author of several books and articles in the field of Christian ethics, Professor Meilaender began his teaching career at Valpo in 1996, where he held the Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics.

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Spotted In Sports Illustrated

In the March 7 issue, Sports Illustrated magazine included a Valpo Men’s Basketball six-page feature story titled “Beyond the Horizon.”


3D Printing Abroad

Valpo professor and alumnus Daniel Blood ’10, Ph.D., and his students traveled to Haiti and visited Pwoje Espwa. There, they used their 3D printer to manufacture basic parts for machines and tools in need of repair.

Professorial Leadership

The American Society of Church History recently elected Ronald K. Rittgers, Ph.D., Erich Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies and professor of history and theology, as its next president. Professor Rittgers joined the University faculty in fall 2006 and is particularly interested in the religious, intellectual, and social history of medieval and early modern Europe, and he is considered an expert in Reformation studies.

Brauer Features Spring and Summer Exhibitions

The Brauer Museum of Art continues to grow its permanent collection with major acquisitions from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The spring exhibitions ran through May 8 and featured artwork in a variety of media. Exhibitions included works by Valpo art students and faculty, “Paintings and Drawings by Kartik Trivedi,” and “Sacred Spaces and Objects.” The summer exhibitions, on display May 17 through Aug. 7, include “Images of the Dunes from the Brauer Museum’s Permanent Collection” and “An Artist’s Journey: Works by the Area Artists Association of Michigan City.”

Valpo Engineering Student Engages in Environmental Remediation in France

It has been a year full of both challenges and growth for Christine Umerley ’17, whose involvement in Valparaiso University’s International Engineering Program (VIEP) took her to France in August 2015. Christine is a civil engineering major, French minor, member of Christ College, as well as the first Valpo student to study at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne.

The VIEP-French program includes a one-semester Study Abroad program in Compiègne, France, followed by an internship with an engineering company in France the next semester and ensuing summer. This past fall, Christine took courses at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in French, art, renewable energy, and urbanism.

In February, she began a cooperative education placement with AECOM, which will extend through mid-July. At AECOM, she is immersed in a large-scale environmental remediation project in the northern France town of Petit-Couronne.

As AECOM is a global company, Christine has the opportunity to work with colleagues in Paris as well as an entire network of consultants and specialists. Christine recognizes the impact of this global experience in stating, “Our world is made up of cultures that can sometimes seem insurmountably different, but there’s a lot we can learn from each other if we seek to make those connections in peace.”

Recognizing the importance of multicultural experience, the College of Engineering has established international engineering programs in France, Germany, Spain, and China.

Sparking Conversation

The Brauer Museum of Art welcomed the installation “Homeless Jesus” to campus. Created by renowned Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz, the installation has been featured in Toronto, London, Perth, Australia, and various cities throughout the United States. The piece comes to Valpo to spark conversation among campus and community viewers and inspire society to be more compassionate and charitable.

Institute of Leadership and Service Held Pathways to Purpose Speaker Series This Spring

The Institute for Leadership and Service prepares the students of Valparaiso University to lead lives of purpose. The Institute assists students in connecting their studies and service with their plans for the future. Through its spring 2016 Pathways to Purpose speaker series, the Institute brought dynamic alumni and other field experts and service-based leaders to campus to discuss professional development and help expand student imagination about purposeful work and a meaningful life after college. This spring’s Pathways to Purpose speakers included:

  • Stuart Diamond, founder and president of Empowered Media
  • Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services
  • Eddie Melton, governmental and community relations manager for NIPSCO
  • Jim Walker, founder of BigCar
  • Derrick Feldmann, creator and lead researcher of The Millennial Impact Project
  • Anna DeLuna ’11, director of business development at Edovo Jail Education Solutions
  • James Clarke, ophthalmologist and humanitarian who lead Unite for Sight’s programs in Ghana

On the Move

This spring marks the last semester that sorority women will live in Scheele Hall, as they anticipate moving into the new sorority housing facility in fall 2016.

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Trending At Valpo

  • Nice!
    1,546 new chairs replaced Chapel of the Resurrection’s pews, allowing for greater variety in worship setups.
  • New
    This winter, Valparaiso Parks opened a new ice rink in Central Park Plaza.
  • Snowfall
    April brought snowfall to campus and a temporary halt to spring.
  • Congrats!
    Ginger “Zee” Zuidgeest ’02, chief meteorologist for ABC’s Good Morning America, gave birth to her first child in December and shined in Season 22 of Dancing with
    the Stars.
  • Champs!
    Valpo Men’s Basketball finished their 2016 season as Horizon League’s regular season champions, with a season record of 16-2.
  • Snubbed
    … but fell to Green Bay in the League Tournament and came up shy in making it to the NCAA tournament.
  • Runners Up!
    … but successfully marched their way to the National Invitational Tournament in New York, advancing to the final round.
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Valpo Robotic Football Team

Valpo debuted its robotic football team in March 2015, defeating Notre Dame, and was later named the 2016 intercollegiate robotic football champions.

Susan Scroggins to Lead Finance and Administration

Susan Scroggins ’04 MBA, has been promoted to the role of vice president for finance and administration. She was previously Valpo’s vice president for administration and now will serve as the University’s treasurer and chief financial officer while continuing to lecture on occasion in graduate-level classes in finance and financial management.

Breaking New Ground for the Sciences

The University is making exceptional progress toward the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan. In September, Valpo broke ground on its new laboratory science building, Center for the Sciences: Chemistry and Biochemistry Building. The 55,000-square-foot science facility is slated to open in fall 2017 and will contain primarily wet laboratories for chemistry, biochemistry, and biology students, along with informal student spaces and staff and faculty offices. Neils Science Center, constructed in 1967, will be renovated and continue to provide classroom and teaching spaces. These state-of-the-art laboratories will allow Valpo to advance and showcase its science research and education.

Addition Promoting Faith and Learning

During Homecoming Weekend, alumni and friends gathered to dedicate the addition to the Chapel of the Resurrection. Made possible by a generous gift from the Rev. Mark ’71 and Kathy Koepp ’71 Helge, the 11,000-square-foot addition to the Chapel of the Resurrection represents the next phase of the Chapel’s restoration and expansion.

The addition provides a new home for the University pastors and Chapel staff, Church and Community Relations, the Institute for Leadership and Service, and other mission and ministry efforts. Thanks to the Helges’ support of the entire scope of this project, the Chapel of the Resurrection is equipped to meet the needs of the Valparaiso University community for decades to come.

Promoting Inclusion

Stacey A. Miller, Ed.D., has fit nicely into her role as assistant provost for inclusion. She continues to work closely with students, faculty, staff, and community members to advance diversity and equity as core values of the University and as central to its educational mission.

With Assistant Provost Miller at the forefront, the provost’s office recently launched “Dialogue and Discernment: Seek First to Understand,” which is a series of events designed to provide meaningful instruction to the Valpo community on how to have civil discourse over irreconcilable differences. The series is an opportunity to engage in respectful conversation regarding some of today’s most challenging issues.

Excellence in Teaching

Valpo’s Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching selected Zuhdi Aljobeh, Ph.D., associate professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, Sandra Bleza, MSN, RN, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and George Pati, Ph.D., Surjit S. Patheja Endowed Chair in World Religions and Ethics and associate professor of theology and international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences as the 2016–2017 Valparaiso University Excellence in Teaching Award recipients. The award recognizes a number of outstanding undergraduate faculty and/or units each year for general teaching excellence, with particular attention to course development, pedagogy, and mentoring/advising.

Valparaiso University Law School Students Compete in Moot Court

A team of Valparaiso University law students gained entry into the world’s leading media law moot court competition after finishing “second best team overall” in the regional round. They were honored with the opportunity to travel to the University of Oxford and compete in the international rounds, where they argued a hypothetical case dealing with freedom of expression in the social media context. Through this competition, students learned both collaborative and leadership skills and gained valuable experience in both oral and written argument.



Kathi Seifert ’71 BSBA, the College of Business’ first executive-in-residence, arrived on campus in October.

Athletics Champs

Congrats to two Horizon League Champions: Women’s Softball and Men’s Tennis!

Alumni Create Endowed Funds

Valparaiso University is extremely thankful to its alumni who have committed millions of dollars toward the establishment of fellowships and scholarships across campus.

  • Joyce Hagen ’79 and Donald Fites ’56 committed $2 million to establish the Joyce Hagen Endowed Faculty Fellowship in support of the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Don Fites Endowed Faculty Fellowship in support of the College of Engineering.
  • Kathleen ’82 Hansen and Robert Hansen ’82 committed $3 million to establish the Robert and Kathleen Hansen Endowed Scholarship for Study Abroad, making it possible for Valpo students who participate in Study Abroad programs to receive scholarship support.
  • Andy Nunemaker ’91 committed $500,000 for the Andy Nunemaker Emergency Scholarship Assistance Fund and to support the Valpo Fund. The emergency fund will assist students faced with emergency situations so severe that it threatens their Valpo academic careers.
  • Bonnie Thalacker ’70 Raquet and Peter Raquet ’65, ’70 M.A. committed $3 million to establish the Endowed Director’s Chair for the Institute for Leadership and Service. The endowment will provide a permanent source of support for the Institute’s programs that prepare students for lives of leadership and service.
  • Judy McNabney ’71 Dutton and John Dutton ’70 committed $1 million to support the University’s unrestricted endowment fund.
  • Ron Zech ’65 and Gisela Gerber ’66 Zech, who passed away on May 5, 2015, committed $1.5 million to establish the Gisela and Ron Zech Endowed Scholarship Fund. The children or dependents of wounded veterans or of veterans who lost their lives during service are eligible for the scholarship.
  • Marian Schaper ’72 and the Rev. Anthony Moon, Ph.D. committed $1.25 million to support Valpo’s unrestricted endowment ($1 million) and to establish the Marian J. and Anthony B. Moon Endowed Scholarship Fund ($250,000). V

Alumni Ink

Restoring The Joy: My Guilt At The Cross

By Christine Raftshol ’73 Vogelsang

Thoughtful and at times humorous, “Restoring The Joy” is an encouraging, insightful collection of personal stories from author Christine Vogelsang’s life as a pastor’s wife, mother, teacher, musician, writer, and speaker. She knows from experience how easy it is to burden yourself with guilt and to forget that the Christian life isn’t about being right but about accepting forgiveness from an always gracious and loving God.

Projecting Politics: Political Messages in American Films

By Terry Christensen and Peter Haas ’79

This fascinating work examines in detail the relationship between American politics and films, from “Birth of a Nation” to “Fahrenheit 9/11.” It provides a decade-by-decade survey of politics and films of all types as well as a helpful framework that students and general readers can use to analyze the political content of films. The book also features an examination of film techniques as they relate to political films, an exploration of the effects of real-world politics on Hollywood, and a practical guide to writing film analysis, as well as a guide to web-based film resources and an extensive “Political Filmography.”

From Broadway to Wall Street: Cautionary Tales of an Unlikely Entrepreneur

By Heather K. Terry ’01

Through success, failures, and lots of learning curves, founder of NibMor Chocolate, Heather Terry ’01 has devised a collection of cautionary tales for the budding entrepreneur. In “From Broadway to Wall Street,” Heather will provide you with the tools and inspiration you need to help you pursue your own entrepreneurial endeavor. This book is filled with humor, advice, personal stories, and even recipes (yes, mouthwatering recipes) that will keep you motivated and on-track for success.

Trumping the Race Card: A National Agenda — Moving Beyond Race and Racism

By Rodney S. Patterson ’81

“Trumping the Race Card” is a perfectly timed book, which brings crucial insight and understanding to the very complex topic of race, both historically and currently. This well-written and accessible book, through a combination of the writer’s personal history and conceptual frame­works, helps the reader understand not only the origins
of the concept of race but also the inevitability of systemic racism throughout history. The book also goes the next step required to make change by providing ways to address the challenges and obstacles they present to relationships, organizations, and society.