The start of the academic year is an exciting time on campus and my favorite time of year. The campus is buzzing with activity! Classes are underway and students are finding new routines. The fall sport schedules for our student athletes have begun and we just completed a great Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2022.
Our new mascots, Beacon and Blaze, were just introduced to the community at Valpo’s annual Popcorn Festival. I can’t wait for our alumni and friends to have the opportunity to meet them and join our pack. They are quickly becoming acquainted with their new home and students love interacting with them.
While there is a lot to be excited about today, I am most looking forward to Valpo’s future. A future that will be driven by our bold new strategic plan “Uplift Valpo — Our Beacon for the Journey Forward.”
The process to develop the plan involved full collaboration of University constituents including the administration, faculty, staff, and Board of Directors. I want to thank Kevin Goebbert ’03, Ph.D., executive director of strategic planning and professor of meteorology, and Joseph Bognar ’94, DMA, strategic planning committee chair and associate professor of music, for leading the efforts.
As we worked through the planning process, essential insights were gathered from current students and alumni to help inform these critical actions that will move the institution from surviving to thriving. The proposed initiatives are a key step toward revolutionizing campus and the curriculum with an intentional focus of keeping students at the center of everything we do.
You will see that the plan is formed around four key themes — Learn, Serve, Lead, Thrive. It’s important that our themes align with our mission as a university and serve as a reflection of our community to the outside world, and I believe our new strategic plan has done just that.
The timeline for implementation of Phase 1- along with tactics and action steps to achieve these ambitious goals – will be announced in the coming weeks. The bold vision articulated in this plan displays the confidence I have for the University’s success and impact as we look to the future.
If you haven’t done so, please go to valpo.edu/strategic-plan for more information. You can also find an overview of the plan in this issue of Valpo Magazine.
While this is indeed an exciting time for Valparaiso University, it’s important to be realistic and not only face the challenges in front of us, but get ahead of them. We are working hard every day to battle through the budget issues, grow enrollment and retention, and deal with the changing world of higher education. We have made progress over the past several months — and with the positive direction of Uplift Valpo, I am confident we are on the right path.
If you have heard me speak, you will know that I often say that “Valpo is a small, yet mighty university that punches above its weight.” I truly believe that and hope that you echo my thoughts, as it will take the full commitment of everyone if we are to achieve the ambitious goals in the plan.
Thank you for everything you do for Valparaiso University. Please enjoy this issue of Valpo Magazine.
José Padilla, J.D.