The end of fall marks many things on campus: students settling into routines, choosing spring semester coursework, looking toward the fray of exams and papers, and preparing for the cold months ahead. We sometimes ask ourselves, “how can we keep going?”
As the seasons change and transitions surround us, we can find our energy waning with the lessening sunlight. I sometimes find it difficult to abandon my favorite T-shirts and sneakers and replace them with sweaters and rubbersoled shoes; it is an act both of letting-go and embracing the opportunities inherent in the changes happening all around me. The end of fall may not seem like a time where we are propelled by momentum. And yet, these are the clothes that keep me active, engaged and comfortable in the cold months (at least here in Val-pour-rain-snow, Windiana). The leaves fall from trees in spectacular hues of red and yellow. New birds arrive at the feeders around our home. Long awaited trips to pick apples and pumpkins liven our spirits. At Valpo, first-year students have memorized the honor code, and are accustomed to writing it on all the tests and assignments they submit. We have celebrated Homecoming and spent time reminiscing with friends and creating new memories of campus. And together we are learning new things, having new experiences, and taking on new challenges. Changing seasons remind us both about how we can become stuck in our ways and how we gain momentum even as things change around us.
In this issue of VALPO Magazine, you’ll see how Valpo students and alumni are gaining momentum in their lives. New strides in our STEM programs align the University with the changing workforce to better prepare students for future success. From environmental engineering to data science, students are receiving the skills they need to pursue their passion and change the world.
Our alumni exemplify the Valpo ideals of leadership, service, faith, and freedom. Read about an alumna who credits her time at Valpo with teaching her the resilience to thrive after her seasonal bipolar diagnosis. She embodies the Valpo spirit in her advanced research in chemistry. Learn about the alumnus who established an endowed scholarship to support students who want to participate in a spring service trip and otherwise would be unable. Share in the legacy of a family with three generations of Valpo alumni. Reflect on the accomplishments of our alumni — good people
doing great things, building the world they want to live in, grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Our momentum brings more than changing seasons. Join me as I reflect on the years I have been blessed to serve as the president of this extraordinary university, and the work we have accomplished together. As we look to the future and change in leadership, I pray that you, like I, will remain steadfast and committed to the success and vision of Valparaiso University. I am confident our great University will continue to provide path-seeking, career-defining educations for each of our future servant-leaders.
As you explore this issue of VALPO, I pray it motivates you to share the spirit of Valpo with your community, your church, and your family. The ethos and mission of our institution puts our students’ futures into motion. Our total commitment helps them reach their full potential.
Enjoy this issue of VALPO Magazine, and I invite you to look for more regular content and updates online at valpo.edu/valpomag. Thank you for being part of this noble University, and may God bless you.
Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.