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Valpo 101

Campus Updates

Spring/Summer 2017

Valpo Alum Competes in Olympic Games

Former Men’s Basketball standout Ryan Broekhoff ’13 represented Team Australia in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Australia took on Spain in the finals, where Ryan shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, coming away with 13 points. However, in a heartbreaking loss, Australia came up short of the bronze, falling 89–88.

2016–2017 Walt Wangerin Jr. Preaching Series

The fifth annual Walter Wangerin Jr. Preaching Series, sponsored by the Chapel of the Resurrection, the Center for Church Relations, and the Institute of Liturgical Studies, brought notable speakers to campus during the 2016–2017 academic year. Speakers included:

  • The Rev. Joshua Hollmann, chair of liberal studies, assistant professor of religion, and Campus Chaplain for Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y. — Sept. 11, 2016
  • The Rev. Y. Franklin Ishida, program director for Asia Pacific with ELCA Global Mission — Oct. 30, 2016
  • The Rev. Timo-Matti Haapiainen, project secretary at The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland — April 23, 2017

Valpo Students Named Kemper Scholars

Alina Virnelson ’20 and Mark Young ’20 were selected from a group of national finalists to become two of 16 in this year’s class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. By identifying high-­potential undergraduate students and supporting them with a comprehensive program of scholarship, mentorship, and internships, the Kemper Scholars Program helps students develop both practical and professional skills to become the next ­generation of effective business leaders.

Trending At Valpo

  • Kelsey's CowIcon
    Kelsey’s restaurant has been the home of Howie the cow for more than 20 years. The fiberglass steer stands two stories tall and has become a Valpo landmark.
  • Eats!
    Last summer, The Rolling Stonebaker opened in downtown Valpo, offering award-winning wood-fired pizza.
  • Perk up!
    Fluid, a new, high-end coffee bar, is open and thriving in downtown Valparaiso.
  • Moving on
    Scheele Hall, built in 1961, closed after providing housing and many fond memories for sorority sisters over the years …
  • New Digs
    … but the new sorority housing complex, featuring six townhouse-style units, opened last fall, and Scheele’s sorority badge wall was maintained.
  • Yummy!
    Eric Herrera ’17 is serving tacos from his very own food truck, Chunky’s Tacos, in downtown Valparaiso.

A Summer in China

The United States Department of State granted Kathleen Salter ’19 a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Chinese in summer 2016. The CLS Pro­gram’s objective is to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Kathleen spent eight weeks studying Chinese at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China, compressing one-year instruction in Chinese into a 20-credit-hour summer course. She is an electrical engineering major with a minor in Chinese whose participation in Valpo’s International Engineering Program (VIEP) will take her back to China in her seventh semester to participate in a Study Abroad program in Hangzhou, China, on the campus of Zheijang University.

A “Heart Safe” Campus

Valparaiso University became the first residential university in the United States to achieve Heart Safe University Accreditation from the Sudden Arrhyth­mia Death Foundation. The “heart safe” certification required Valpo to meet several elements designed to raise aware­ness and prevent sudden cardiac arrest — screen­­ing and risk assessment, ­emergency response drills, automated external defibrillators (AED), and CPR training for staff and students.

A Grant for a New Course

The National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Enduring Questions grant program provides teachers the opportunity to develop new courses centered around the study of an enduring question. Allison Schuette ’93, associate professor of English, was awarded a $20,000 grant by the NEH to teach a new course focused on the enduring question, “Who is my neighbor?” Professor Schuette’s course is an extension of the work she has done with Liz Wuerffel ’00, associate professor of art, on the Welcome Project, which was created to elicit discussion about diversity on campus and in the community.

Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics

Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard was named the Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University and has joined Christ College —
The Honors College as a professor of history and humanities. From 1997–1999, he taught at Valpo as a Lilly Fellow. Last fall, Professor Howard  taught a new Christ College seminar, “What Is the Good Life? Moral Inquiry before the Modern Age.” As part of his role, Professor Howard holds lectures, with the inaugural event on Feb. 1 titled “The Past and the Good: Reflections on History and the Moral Life.”

Crusader GearCrusader Gear

Valpo’s athletic department extended their partnership with Nike, making Nike the official provider of Crusader uniforms and apparel for the
next five years.

Field Study

The renowned meteorology program at Valpo enhances classroom education with field study. Students at Valpo have been chasing and spotting severe weather since the late 1990s. In summer 2016, the Valparaiso University Storm Intercept Team (VUSIT) participated in two con­vec­tive field studies across the Plains and Midwest. VUSIT had an up-close look at several storms, including a brief touch­down by a tornado in Leoti, Kansas.

Horizon League Honor Roll

Valpo student-athletes continue to excel on the field as well as in the classroom. With 100 Crusaders named to the Horizon League Spring Honor Roll, Valpo ranks third in the league. To qualify for the honor roll, students must participate in at least one of the League’s 19 sports during the most recent (or current) season, complete at least three semesters as a full-time student at the same member institution, and obtain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale).

Promoting STEM Education

Valparaiso University received a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support students pursuing careers in science and mathematics.

The grant will provide partial scholar­ships to three cohorts of 10–12 students majoring in STEM fields within the College of Arts and Sciences, such as biology, chemistry, computer science, data science, and mathematics. The program is designed to meet the needs of commuters and those who are underrepresented in STEM fields and may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend Valpo.

Through the grant, students will be able to engage in a four-year immersive research experience, benefiting from close faculty mentoring and potential summer research opportunities.

This initiative further bolsters Valpo’s commitment to STEM education, along with the development of the Center for the Sciences. The first building within this Center, the Chemistry and Biochemistry Building, will house laboratory classes beginning fall 2017.

Cornel WestCornel West

Cornel West, Ph.D., was the keynote speaker for our 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, focusing on the theme “Conscious Humanity: What is Justice?”

Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Law

Rebecca Huss, professor of law, was named Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Law. Professor Huss teaches courses in business associations, mergers and acquisitions, nonprofit organizations, animal law, and securities regulation.

College of Engineering Adds Bioengineering Degree

Building upon the success of its accredited programs in civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering, the College of Engineering now offers a fifth degree in the rapidly expanding field of bioengineering.

“Bioengineering is an initiative our faculty have been developing for a long time and our students are eager to pursue,” says Craig Goehler, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering. “Relying heavily on what we do well here, the program builds upon Valpo’s standard engineering curriculum and incorporates courses in biological science.”

Initially offered as a minor, bioengineering is now available to Valpo students through three separate concentrations — bioelectrical, biomechanical, and biomedical. Valpo is currently the only master’s-level comprehensive university in the Midwest to offer a bioengineering program.

In this program, students will be provided with a strong foundation in engineering and design principles and will study a variety of topics, from interpreting the electrical signals generated by the nervous system to analyzing materials used for orthopedic implants.

This broad field aims to address important societal needs and improve the lives of others.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a 23 percent employment growth for bioengineers by 2024.

NSCAAWomen’s and Men’s Soccer Honored for Academic Excellence

For the 14th consecutive year, both the women’s and men’s soccer programs received National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Awards, marking the third-longest streak in the nation. The award is given annually to soccer programs with a composite grade-point average above 3.00.

Wordfest Artists 2016–2017

Annually, Valpo’s English department presents Wordfest, a reading, lecture, and discussion series presented by practicing writers of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction prose to help stimulate and inspire students in their own creative journeys. 2016-2017 Wordfest speakers included:

  • Sharon Solwitz, an acclaimed fiction writer, editor, and professor
  • Joshua Brown, an accomplished professor, graphic novelist, author, and supervisor to the American Social History Project’s documentary, new media, and visual projects
  • Marie Howe, author of three volumes of poetry who served as the Poet Laureate of New York State and has poems in several esteemed publications
  • As a creative nonfiction writer and poet, Kaethe Schwehn has been published in journals such as Crazyhorse, Jubilat, and Pleiades, as well as the anthology Fiction on a Stick. Recently she released a memoir entitled “A Year in the Village” about her experiences as a young woman in a Lutheran Retreat Center in the Cascade Mountains. Schwehn has strong connections to the University as daughter of Valpo’s former provost, Mark Schwehn ’67, Ph.D.
  • Performer and musician Ronnie Malley combines the story of Andalusia’s religious communities with the story of his own musical experiences through his South Chicago upbringing and Palestinian roots. He recently performed at Silk Road Rising, a Chicago theatre company that frequently partners with Valpo. This event was co-sponsored by the Middle Eastern Studies program.

The CressetThe Cresset

Did you know Valpo has its own journal dedicated to literature, the arts, and public affairs? Visit to read the latest issue of The Cresset, which covers a variety of topics from faith to theatre to politics.

Institute for Leadership and Service Hosts Pathways to Purpose Speaker Series

The Pathways to Purpose speaker series features speakers and topics focused on professional development. The speaker series primarily features field experts and service-based leaders who respond to the deepest challenges of our time and help to inspire students to pursue purposeful work.

Pathways to Purpose speakers for the 2016–2017 series included:

  • Chuck Marohn, founder and CEO of Strong Towns
  • Jason Kunesh, current CEO and co-founder of Public Good Software Inc.
  • Kurt Senske ’81, CEO of Upbring and author of “Wine and the Word: Savor & Serve”
  • Gwen Jimmere, CEO and founder of Naturalicious
  • Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and nobel laureate
  • Tezra Osthus ’08, development ­manager at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos USA
  • Deborah Fisher, executive director of A Blade of Grass
  • Janice Phillips, Ph.D, M.S., RN, director of government and regulatory affairs for CGFNS
  • Hannah Cartwright ’08, staff attorney at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
  • Amy Sample Ward ’05, CEO of NTEN
  • Rev. Eugene Cho, lead pastor of Quest Church

In addition to these events, the Insti­tute for Leadership and Service partnered with the Computing and Humanity Speaker Series to present Tijana Milen­kovic, head of Complex Networks Lab at Notre Dame, and Raffaella Settimi-Woods, associate director of the Center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics at DePaul University.

Valpo Honors College 2016–2017 Symposium Speakers

Valparaiso University’s Christ College — The Honors College presented its annual symposium, which featured internationally distinguished speakers to stimulate dynamic discussions on this year’s theme: “What is Faith?”

The College hosted five notable ­speakers during the 2016–2017 academic year: Mark W. Roche, Marie Howe, Leymah Gbowee, Tal Howard, and Kaethe Schwehn.

Valparaiso University Receives National Recognition

Valpo consistently receives high rankings in numerous fields, including public good, value, and teaching.

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Valpo No. 1 in the Best Value category among Midwest regional universities.
  • Valpo appeared on U.S. News & World Report Best Undergraduate Teaching list, ranking first among Midwestern regional universities.
  • Valpo’s College of Engineering was ranked No. 13 best undergraduate engineering program in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
  • U.S. News & World Report recognized Valpo’s College of Business as one of the top one-third of AACSB internationally accredited business schools in the nation.
  • The Washington Monthly ranked Valpo No. 4 in the nation for contribution to public good among master’s universities.
  • Valpo appeared on The Washington Monthly “Best Bang for the Buck” list, ranking in the top 30 institutions in the Midwest.
  • Valparaiso University achieved recognition by Forbes 2016 rankings as one of the top 75 colleges in the Midwest.
  • Valpo was once again named to the President’s Higher Education Com­mu­nity Service Honor Roll with distinc­tion, this year in three categories: general community service, education, and economic opportunity.

Megan LeuzingerMegan Leuzinger Added to Crusaders’ Coaching Staff

Women’s Basketball welcomed assistant coach Megan Leuzinger, who holds Liberty University’s Division I record for career scoring average and was selected by the San Antonio Silver Stars as the 14th pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft.

Rod Moore Steps Down as Head Athletic Trainer

Roderick “Rod” Moore ’68, ATC, LAT, stepped down as the head athletic trainer for the Valparaiso University athletic department on Sept. 1 after nearly 50 years in the role.

“Valpo has allowed me to work in a wide variety of athletic training roles in the community and at the state, national, and world levels. I have learned what it takes to be successful at the very highest level of competition and feel privileged that I have been able to use that knowledge here in my time at Valpo.”

Rod became the department’s head athletic trainer in 1967 while completing his undergraduate work. He has since served in this role and worked directly with all Crusaders’ athletic programs during his time at Valpo. He worked as the primary athletic trainer for the men’s basketball team throughout his 49-year tenure and worked with the football program for more than four decades — including a 33-year stretch without missing a Crusader football game.

“For more than 50 years, Rod has contributed directly to the success of thousands of Valpo student-athletes,” says Mark LaBarbera, director of athletics. “There are no words that can adequately express the appreciation and respect owed him for all he has done and all he has meant to Valpo Athletics. It has been a privilege to have him as a colleague.”

TEDxValparaisoUniversity Dares to Build

TEDxValparaisoUniversity returned to campus Nov. 4, 2016, to explore the power of creation and innovation to bring together a diversity of people, cultures, and concepts to create real-world change. The student-driven and community-inspired TEDx event was themed “Dare to Build” and featured 14 diverse speakers, including Valpo students, alumni, and faculty, as well as community members.

New Home for Sorority Women

Valpo’s sorority community celebrated the blessing of the Sorority Housing Complex during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, officially marking the opening of the facility. Now home to 150 women, the facility consists of six townhouse-style units as well as a carriage house for a full-time residential learning coordinator. Each townhouse is equipped with a chapter meeting room, additional study and meeting spaces, and residential-style kitchen.

Best in Nation

Men’s Golf was honored by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) as the Division I Academic National Champion, posting the top team GPA among all Division I programs.

Graduate School Welcomes Assistant Dean Ryan Torma

Ryan Torma joined Valpo as assistant dean of online, distance, adult, and continuing education. As part of his role, Assistant Dean Torma will help to shape the University strategy for online and distance education, serve as point of contact for our external partners, monitor compliance, and champion efforts to ensure a great experience for students and faculty in online programs and courses.

Related to his role in adult and continuing education, Assistant Dean Torma will identify ways to support adult students who are completing an undergraduate degree through the University’s College of Adult Scholars program. He will also lead efforts to create dynamic continuing education programs, making it possible for adult students across the country to have access to a Valpo education.

Valpo Earns NIT At-Large Berth

Valpo Men’s Basketball appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the second straight season this March, earning an at-large bid to the tournament for just the second time in program history. The Crusaders won the Horizon League regular season championship — the program’s fifth title in the last six seasons — before suffering a heartbreaking loss in the league tournament. Making its seventh straight postseason appearance, Valpo battled despite being down a few players due to illness and injury before falling to second-seeded Illinois. The Crusaders ended their season with a 24-9 record, matching the fifth-most wins in a single season in program history.

Valpo Bids Farewell to Dean Kanelos

Peter Kanelos joined the Valparaiso University community in 2013 as dean of Christ College. Dean Kanelos brought an unmatched devotion to honors education and a deeply rooted enthusiasm for Christian higher education to the College.

Under his leadership, the College’s student body experienced a pattern of growth into a high caliber, more diverse community. He devoted much time and energy to revising the curriculum in Christ College to ensure students from all Colleges were primed for success in both Christ College and their particular majors.

This fall Dean Kanelos will become the 24th president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., the third oldest college in the United States.

College of Nursing and Health Professions Appoints New Dean

In July 2017, Karen Allen, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, will join the gifted and passionate faculty of Valpo’s College of Nursing and Health Professions as dean. Most recently, Dean Allen was a professor of nursing at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., serving as chair of the nursing department for 17 years. The department grew under her leadership, with the establishment of a doctor of nursing practice program.

Dean Allen will be responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination, and guidance of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. She brings an accomplished record as an expert in substance abuse and addictions treatment.

Dean Allen holds a Ph.D. in nursing sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a master’s in nursing administration and a bachelor’s in nursing from Andrews University. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.


For more campus news, visit VALPO magazine online at

Valpo in the Valley

Valparaiso University recently accepted an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1, 2017. Learn more about the transition in the
next issue of the VALPO Magazine.

More from the Spring/Summer 2017 Issue