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Valparaiso University’s History Told in 20 Objects

Summer 2015

How does a more than 150 year-old University catalog its history? Surely through certificates, yearbooks, magazines, and newspapers, but also through artifacts and objects that tell the stories of an institution rich in tradition.

In the f0llowing you’ll read about the different objects that bring Valpo’s history to life — objects that elucidate our distinctive character, our unique traditions, and the remarkable people who have and continue to shape our ethos. Go back to a time when you first moved into your freshman hall, worshiped in the Chapel, or participated in athletics or sorority and fraternity life. The following objects represent just a small fraction of the history that makes up this extraordinary University.
When selecting the items featured in these pages, we dove deep into the archives in search of artifacts that represent defining moments in this University’s history — moments that explore our Lutheran character, the shared student experience, athletics achievements, and our commitment to academic inquiry. We did our best to display our diverse and vibrant tradition, knowing that there are many more stories yet to tell
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01 / University Seals

Though the first University Seal was created at the time of the University’s founding in 1859, the Lutheran University Association adopted its own version in 1926, which displays the “V,” the Wings of Freedom, and the Torch of Learning. In addition, the “V” rests upon Luther’s Coat of Arms with the University motto, “In Luce Tua Videmus Lucem,” (In Thy Light, We See Light) written underneath. The most recent version was adopted in 1958, and at that time, the Wings of Freedom were replaced with small crosses.

02 / Beanies

“Button, Frosh!” When freshmen heard these dreaded words, they were required to stop, place both index fingers on the button of their beanie, and perform deep-knee bends. Initiated by the upperclassmen, the ritual known as “buttoning” was an integral part of the freshman experience from 1917 until the 1960s. In 1962, the traditional green beanies were replaced with brown and gold pots, signifying the freshmen as equal members of the community, though they were still required to adhere to the upperclassmen’s demands at that time.

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03 / Founder’s Certificates

In 1925, the first individuals who contributed to the Lutheran University Association’s campaign to purchase Valparaiso University received Founder’s certificates in addition to LUA membership cards. Hundreds of people received these certificates and were referred to as charter members. Those who contributed to the University once it was established received a second certificate, which recognized their assistance in founding a Lutheran University.

04 / University Mace

The University’s first mace, while not nearly as ornate as our current mace, exemplified the importance attached to the symbols of academia at Valpo and was carried by the University Marshal at significant events such as Opening Convocation, Baccalaureate, and Commencement. The original, which has a croquet ball for a head, was only used for a short time, from the late 1940s until 1953 when the new mace was presented.

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05 / Sweet Sixteen

Where were you when Bryce Drew sank “The Shot” — one of the greatest moments in March Madness history? In 1998, Bryce Drew’s buzzer-beating shot against Ole Miss secured the Crusaders as the Cinderella Story of the year and catapulted them into the Round of 32. Though this moment will live on in Valpo history, many forget that it was the 83–77 overtime win against Florida State that propelled the Crusaders into the Sweet Sixteen. The game ball used during Sweet Sixteen play against the University of Rhode Island was then presented to former athletic director William Steinbrecher.

06 / Victory Five

From the world’s tallest team from 1941-1945 to the Cinderella story in 1998, Valpo has a number of legendary stories that center around basketball. Probably the most significant team in the University’s history, however, was the 1923–1924 team known as the “Victory Five.” During that year, the team won 24 out of 28 games, including 22 consecutive victories. This outstanding record stamped Valpo as one of the nation’s best that year. Most impressive — the team used the same five players for the majority of play.

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07 / George W. Norris Stamp

Graduate of the Law School class of 1883 and the recipient of an honorary doctorate in 1943, George W. Norris is one of Valpo’s most notable alumni — so notable that his face was on a stamp. He served as U.S. Senator for Nebraska for 30 years and as a congressman for 10 years. As a devoted alumnus, George organized the longest running private alumni group, known as the League of the United Nine.

08 / Honor Code Book

The Honor Code was instituted long before the musical rendition of alumnus Michael Essany ’05 went viral in 2005. In 1943, the original honor system, initiated by student body president Barbara Bernthal ’44 and the Valpo Student Council, required an 80 percent consensus from each class to administer. The code has since seen several iterations. The most recent, written in 1976, reflects the students’ sense of personal responsibility as well as the overall academic integrity of the University. In 2013, a new tradition was born, as new students signed their name in the official Honor Code book during Opening Convocation, showing their commitment to the long-held University code of conduct.

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09 / Luther’s Works

What does it mean to be a Lutheran University? Many things — including owning several original items important in Lutheran history. Luther’s original translation of the Bible, which dates back to 1535, was sold to the University by Selma Kroencke Mullin, daughter of former Dean Frederick W. Kroencke. Valpo also currently owns several of Luther’s original works, including the Book of Concord and Luther’s Small Catechism for Pastors, Schoolmasters, Householders, Youth, and Children.

10 / Alpha Phi Delta Paddle

A sorority or fraternity paddle has come to symbolize a sense of pride and honor for one’s Greek organization, often publicly displayed in the various rooms of Scheele Hall and the fraternity houses. Alpha Phi Delta was the first sorority on Valpo’s campus. Founded in 1917, Alpha Phi Delta eventually became Delta Delta Delta in 1998, when many of the local sororities were re-colonized into internationally recognized organizations. Today, Valpo has five active sororities and nine active fraternities.

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11 / Bowden Hiawatha Slides

An 1897 graduate of the Northern Indiana Normal School, Katharine Bowden served in a variety of roles at Valpo from 1927 until the 1950s, including University archivist. In 1903, together with her husband, Charles, she captured images of the staging of Longfellow’s poem, “The Song of Hiawatha,” the epic poem written in 1855 about a Native American hero. Katharine’s work signifies the long tradition of research, inquiry, and curiosity that has characterized Valpo faculty for more than a century and a half.

12 / Memorial Book of Donors to the Chapel

The Chapel of the Resurrection is by far the most iconic building on campus, and one of the largest and most recognized chapels in the world. Built in 1956, the Memorial Chapel was modeled after the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It was renamed the Chapel of the Resurrection in 1969. The memorial book of donors honors those who have financially contributed to the Chapel since it was first constructed. The book stands in the Narthex of the building, and its pages are turned every month to highlight a new set of contributors.

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13 / Songfest

Songfest — one of Valpo’s longest standing traditions that is still celebrated each spring. In its original form, Songfest was part of Spring Weekend festivities and garnered friendly competition between sororities and fraternities, who bravely performed — for better or worse — a song and dance routine on the steps of the Chapel for the chance to win a championship trophy as well as bragging rights until the next year’s competition. Today’s tradition is open to a variety of student organizations and is held in the Athletics–Recreation Center.

14 / Boxing Varsity Letter

Valpo had a boxing team? Yes, in fact, and a successful one. In 1942, Elroy Bruss was the University’s first NCAA postseason participant, having competed in the NCAA Boxing championships, which were held at Louisiana State University that year. His varsity letter hangs in the Athletics–Recreation Center.

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15 / Kinsey Hall Brick

Unfortunately, fires were a common part of the Valpo story from the University’s earliest years up until the 1970s. Kinsey Hall was one of the last buildings on campus to suffer a fire, which occurred in 1970. The building was eventually demolished, and only a few bricks remain, perhaps as a symbol of the expansion that the University would experience in the decades to follow.

16 / Book of Yells

Today’s student section, affectionately known as the ValparaiZone, would face fierce competition if they were to cheer against some of Valpo’s most spirited alumni. From the early 1900s until the 1960s, the student body elected “Yell Masters” or “Yell Leaders,” who led them in traditional cheers during Homecoming and other sporting events. The cheers were published in an annual “Book of Yells.” “Fight on, Valpo! And keep on fighting! Break through that stubborn line! Team victorious, with colors glorious, Now fight! Don’t miss that sign!”

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17 / Brauer Museum of Art

Did you know that Valpo houses artwork from some of the world’s most renowned artists? One of the most notable is “Rust Red Hills,” a landscape painting of the Southwest by Georgia O’Keeffe. Founding museum director Richard Brauer acquired the painting for the museum in 1962. Other important works include “The Silver Veil and the Golden Gate” by Childe Hassam, which was also acquired by Richard Brauer; “Classical Composition” by Asher Durand, a gift of Phyllis Buehner ’54 Duesenberg and Richard W. Duesenberg ’51; and “Cool Morning on the Prairie” by Junius R. Sloan, a gift of the artist’s son, Percy H. Sloan, who donated approximately 400 works of art and the endowment funds that made the Brauer Museum’s founding possible.

18 / Robert F. Kennedy Campaign Buttons

“Kennedy for President in ’68.” In April 1968, Robert F. Kennedy spoke to approximately 5,000 people on campus, discussing issues such as hunger, poverty, race relations, and the looming Vietnam war. He was one of the first and most notable figures to speak publicly at Valparaiso University.

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19 / 2012 Women’s Bowling Team

Valpo’s women’s athletics teams have earned a number of accolades throughout the years, including several conference championships, NCAA tournament appearances, and All-American individual honors. In 2012, the women’s bowling team achieved the most impressive in University history, capturing 5th place in the NCAA national championships. Besides the men’s basketball teams of 1961–1962 and 1966–1967, this is the only Crusader team that has ever made a national quarterfinal appearance.

20 / O.P. Kretzmann’s Doctoral Robe

Former President O.P. Kretzmann’s legacy still remains an important part of the Valpo story, as many students, faculty, staff, and alumni were touched by his 28-year presidency. From 1940 until 1968, President Kretzmann helped develop New Campus, grew the enrollment from 400 to 4,000, enhanced various academic programs, and gained the University national recognition. His doctoral robe is a symbol of his commitment to the University and its academic future.