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Leadership & Legacy – Timeline

Fall 2019

Together, the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and Board of Directors have achieved many accomplishments for the flourishing of Valparaiso University during President Heckler’s years of leadership. Valpo is a place that is welcoming for people of various backgrounds and beliefs and intentionally brings them together in dialogue with one another in the common pursuit of truth. Over the past 12 years, President Heckler has guided strategic efforts to add generosity and gratitude to Valpo’s core of student development, alongside its longstanding commitment to leadership and service. The impact is visible in students and alumni who give back to the University through their time, treasure, and talents. In addition, President Heckler led the University through one of the nation’s largest and longest economic recessions, nearly doubling the endowment from $143,641,000 in 2009 to today’s level of $273,400,000 including receivables, with an additional $190,594,448.53 in planned gift commitments to continue to grow the endowment into the future.

Learn more about the University’s accomplishments over the past 12 years.

2008 – 2009

During his first two years as president, led the strategic visioning and planning process involving more than 1,000 alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community leaders that charted the course for Valpo to achieve new levels of excellence during the next two decades.

Jan 2009

Harre Union opened and was dedicated. This building serves as the student hub of campus, providing a central location for meetings, dining services, and study spaces.

July 2009

Concluded the “Our Valpo, Our Time” Campaign, concluding the efforts of his predecessor, Alan Harre. The campaign raised $238 million — the most ever raised by a Lutheran university.


The Valparaiso University Board of Directors approved statements of the University’s vision and core values, and President Heckler appointed new members to an expanded Strategic Planning Committee.


Valpo’s Board of Directors approved the Strategic Plan, but the Strategic Planning Committee’s work did not end. One of President Heckler’s key recommendations was not only to broaden the committee’s membership but also to expand its role. The committee was charged with developing ways to measure the University’s progress in implementing the plan, evaluating its progress annually, and articulating the vision of Valpo to be known for the knowledge, character, integrity, and wisdom of its graduates.

Oct 2011

Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center was dedicated. This building houses the senior design workspaces, as well as meeting rooms and labs supporting innovative engineering programs.

May 2012

First director of writing appointed, heading the creation of a comprehensive writing program to ensure all Valpo students are equipped to enter the workforce with superior writing skills.

June 2012

Valparaiso University Chorale and President Heckler visited Leipzig, Germany, for the annual Bach fest celebration. During the visit, President Heckler signed an agreement with the church resolving to continue the cultural, educational, and theological exchanges for many years to come.

Aug 2012

College of Arts and Sciences building opened. Proclaiming the University motto — In Thy Light We See Light — in multiple languages at the entryway, this building provides classrooms and office space for departments within the College of Arts and Sciences.

The 30-year Master Plan was unveiled. The plan intentionally and actively supports the entirety of the University’s Strategic Plan. It is flexible and forward-thinking to guide current and future campus decisions.


The Institute for Leadership and Service was created. The Institute helps students to make connections between their study, their service, and their plans for future success leading to a deeper sense of purpose and calling in church and society.

Sept 2013

The Costa Rica Study Abroad Center launched with the first cohort of students.

James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility was dedicated. Valpo faculty and undergraduates are able to conduct solar research here, providing a unique opportunity for students to work with faculty mentors on the cutting edge of this field.

Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Welcome Center was dedicated. The building houses the Office of Admissions and is a first stop for campus visitors.

Oct 2014

Brauer Museum of Art welcomes “Borders,” an installation by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir. The display came to Valpo after its exhibition at the United Nations to intrigue campus and community viewers with its life-sized figures and themes of sameness and difference.

Fall 2014

Beacon Hall opened, creating a new housing opportunity for sophomore students. The suite-style housing option is a popular residence hall among students. The University began a partnership with University Promenade to offer more apartment-style housing options for junior and senior students.

May 2015

Cross-cultural engineering program launched with Dalian Jiaotong University in Dalian, China. The program allows Chinese and Valpo students to study abroad, work together on innovative team projects, and simulate the global context they’ll experience after graduation.

July 2015

Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Student Success Services appointed to increase support for diversity and inclusion at the University.

Sept 2015

Building on the largest undergraduate enrollment in 31 years that was achieved in 2013, the University marked the largest total enrollment in 41 years, in addition to the highest level of international students and highest level of domestic minorities enrolled.

Kathleen and Mark Helge Center was dedicated, bringing together all mission and ministry programs.

Aug 2016

Sorority Housing Complex opened. Valpo’s sorority women are able to live and meet in the connected houses, allowing for independence and community in on-campus housing. Brandt Hall renovations were completed, improving the quality of the first-year residence hall.

Sept 2016

Launched Valpo’s first-ever endowment campaign, Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, with more than half of the $250 million goal reached before the public kickoff. More than $218 million in gifts and commitments have been raised to date.

July 2017

Valpo Athletics moved to the Missouri Valley Conference in most Division I sports programs.

Sept 2017

The Center for the Sciences: Chemistry and Biochemistry was dedicated. It was honored for energy efficiency and houses an interdisciplinary lab. Students can collaborate with each other and with faculty as they hone research skills. The Innovation Hub at McMillan Hall was dedicated, opening an interdisciplinary center that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.

Oct 2017

Valparaiso University alumni and friends toured Germany with stops at locations central to the Reformation Movement. Christopher Cock and the University Chorale toured Germany, and were the only international choir invited to perform at Castle Church in Wittenberg during the remembrance. President Heckler was invited to serve as a reader during the Oct. 31 service, which honored the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Sept 2019

Carnegie elevates University’s classification from regional to national, placing Valpo among institutions such as the University of Chicago and Princeton. College of Engineering advances to No. 13 in the nation in undergraduate engineering programs according to U.S. News & World Report, the highest national ranking in its history.

Recently Added Academic Programs

College of Engineering (2017)

Business Analytics
College of Business (2014)

Cyber Security
College of Arts and Sciences (2014)

Data Science
College of Arts and Sciences (2017)

Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering (2019)

Health Care Leadership
College of Nursing and Health Professions (2012)

Integrated Business and Engineering
College of Business (2019)

Music Therapy
College of Arts and Sciences (2019)

Occupational Therapy
College of Nursing and Health Professions (2012)

Physician Assistant Studies
College of Nursing and Health Professions (2012)

Public Health
College of Nursing and Health Professions (2012)

College of Arts and Sciences (2017)

Supply Chain and Logistics Management
College of Business (2018)

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