Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University logo
Motto In luce tua videmus lucem (Latin)
Motto in English In Thy light we see light
Established 1859
Type Private, Coeducational
Endowment $140.8 million[1]
President Mark A. Heckler
Academic staff 220
Students 4,061
Undergraduates 2,875
Postgraduates 1,186
Location Valparaiso, IN, U.S.
41°27′49″N 87°02′37″W / 41.46361°N 87.04361°W / 41.46361; -87.04361
Campus Suburban, 310 acres (125.5 ha)
Athletics 18 Division I NCAA teams
Colors Brown and Gold
Nickname Crusaders
Affiliations Independent Lutheran
Seal of Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University, known colloquially as Valpo, is a regionally accredited[2] private university located in the city of Valparaiso in the U.S. state of Indiana. Founded in 1859, it consists of five undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, a nursing school and a law school. Valparaiso University is owned and operated by the Lutheran University Association, a non-profit corporation, and is the largest independent Lutheran university in the United States. It is also home to the second largest collegiate chapel in the world, the Chapel of the Resurrection.[3]



Heritage Hall, Valparaiso University, 1905


Valparaiso is located 54 miles southeast of downtown Chicago and is the southeasternmost suburb of the Chicago metropolitan area. It is also 15 miles (24 km) south of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The 320-acre (129.5 ha) campus as well as its main entrance are located off U.S. Highway 30 on the south side of the city and is the site of over sixty buildings and a number of academic resources.

Old Campus

Old College Building, Valparaiso University, circa 1918

The Old Campus of Valparaiso University is both adjacent to and a part of the historic downtown district of the city. Old Campus is the site of the School of Law, which is made up of Wesemann Hall and Heritage Hall. Heritage was the oldest remaining building on the campus, and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. In 2009, the school started a restoration project, only to tear the building down and then rebuild it. The school's fraternities, the Martin Luther King Cultural Center, and the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center are all also located in old campus. Old Campus is also the site of Valpo's Doppler weather radar. Located north of Old Campus is the College of Nursing, whose students use SIMMAN, a robotic patient simulator used to train students in real life treatment to better serve their education.

New Campus

Beginning in the 1950s, the school expanded eastward to occupy what is now known as New Campus. Today it is the primary section of the university, home to thousands of students in nine dormitories and most of the academic buildings. At the center of campus is the Chapel of the Resurrection, a 98-foot (30 m) high building which is the home of Valparaiso University's many worship services and convocations. Built on the highest elevation of land on the university's campus, it has been a Northwest Indiana landmark since 1959. The Neils Science Center was erected in 1974 and includes an astronomical observatory, greenhouse, and a now decommissioned sub-critical nuclear reactor which helped the facility receive an Atomic Energy Commission citation as a model undergraduate physics laboratory. The Christopher Center Library (built 2004) houses over 500,000 books and numerous video and audio resources. It is a popular place for students to gather and study. The Valparaiso University Center for the Arts (VUCA) offers multiple performance facilities, which are most notably used by students to produce full scale theatrical performances every year. The performances and exhibits in the Center for the Arts are always open to the public, and the Center houses the nationally renowned Brauer Museum of Art. Kallay-Christopher Hall is home to the Department of Geography and Meteorology. Kallay-Christopher has an observation deck and large weather lab facilities. Adjoining Kallay-Christopher Hall is Schnabel Hall, which is home to communications students and WVUR-FM, the university's student-run radio station. The College of Engineering has both a 16-inch (406 mm) computerized reflecting telescope to aid in NASA research and VisBox-X2, a virtual reality system used to immerse students in a visualized three dimensional image. The College of Engineering building, Gellersen Hall, is currently undergoing expansion, which is expected to be completed during the summer of 2011.


ValparaisoUniversity Chapel.JPG

Building projects at Valparaiso University are funded entirely by donation. The university also receives no support for operation from the state or federal government.

The most notable construction project on campus is the construction of the 202,000 sq ft (18,800 m2), $74 million new student Union, named in honor of University President Alan F. Harre, who retired in June 2008. It opened in January 2009. The new union is more than 3 times the size of the previous union, and has consolidated all dining services on campus. It has room for all student organizations on campus, as well as a new bookstore, lounge areas, student mailboxes for every student on campus, entertainment areas, a large ballroom (capable of seating 500 for a dinner or 1000 for an auditorium setting), a career center, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Chapel. The design architect was Sasaki Associates, Inc. and the architect of record was Design Organization.

Plans have also been made to expand upon the south end of the Gellersen Hall, where the College of Engineering is located. Construction began in March 2010, and is expected to be completed by August 2011. The $13 million project will cover approximately 13,500 square feet (1,250 m2) and include additional laboratory and learning spaces for Valparaiso's undergraduate engineering students.


Fireworks by the Chapel of the Resurrection during Homecoming Weekend, September 2007


Valparaiso University is organized into five undergraduate colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Nursing, and Christ College.

The Christ College was chartered by President O.P. Kretzmann in 1967 as the Honors College of Valparaiso University. Centered in Mueller Hall, it is the successor to the Directed Studies Program, which was established to better serve the influx of gifted students to the institution. Roughly 80 students, or ten percent of the class, are admitted each year. Along with concurrent enrollment in a fundamental college, the discourse provides immersion in the fields of history, literature, art, music, philosophy, religion and social science. A student steering committee composed of upperclassmen guides the development of the program and a multitude of annual events. The Student Scholarship Symposium features diverse, student selected research projects delivered in a critical and interactive environment. Students have the option to complete their study with either a major or minor in humanities to complement that received in their main field of study.

Graduate School

Valparaiso University offers a variety of masters programs in Business, Chinese Studies, Education, English Studies & Communication, Information Technology, International Commerce, Policy, Liberal Studies, Nursing, Psychology/Counseling, International Economics and Finance, and Sports Administration.

Valparaiso also has a School of Law which had an enrollment of 575 students in the Fall of 2010.[4]


U.S. News & World Report named Valparaiso University as #3 in the Universities-Master's category for the Midwest in its annual rankings of "America's Best Colleges."[5] It also ranked Valparaiso among the "Best College Values" based on a ratio of price to quality, and placed the College of Engineering in the nation's top 25 undergraduate-only engineering schools.[6] Over ninety-five percent of graduates secure employment or further education (twenty-three percent) within six months. More than ninety percent of students receive financial aid totaling over fifty-two million dollars annually. Charity Navigator also gave the institution four out of four stars based on its organizational efficiency and capacity.[7]

Valparaiso University has not done much to become more environmentally sustainable, and was graded a "D+" on the College Sustainability Report Card in 2009.[8]


Valparaiso University faculty work with governments, communities, colleagues, and students. Ninety percent of the faculty members hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their field. Valparaiso is a teaching school where each professor lectures and every class is led by a professor, and there are very few teaching assistants at Valpo. As a result, in nearly every class professors are on a first name basis with their students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 12 to 1, and there is an average of 20 students per class.


Valparaiso is a growing school that works to uphold the benefits of an intimate education. Most first-year undergraduate students take a year of Core, an interdisciplinary course rooted in liberal arts and focused on the understanding the purpose and fulfillment of human life. About a tenth of incoming freshman alternatively participate in the freshman program of Christ College, Valparaiso University's honor college. Students are also subject to an honor system originally implemented by the students themselves in 1943 which remains in effect today. The school also puts a heavy focus on diversity. Each January, the school holds a weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. events as its major annual event and invite provocative and sometimes controversial key-note speakers.

Study Abroad

Valparaiso offers study-abroad programs in fourteen nations including sites in Cambridge, England (Anglia Ruskin University); Osaka, Japan; Reutlingen, Germany; Puebla, Mexico; Namibia; Paris, France; and Hangzhou, China (Zhejiang University). Two of the programs (Cambridge and Reutlingen) are exclusively Valparaiso University programs; the other programs (Cergy, La Rochelle, Rottenburg am Neckar, Tübingen, Puebla, two programs in Paris, Hangzhou, Japan, Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, College Year in Athens, Namibia, and Granada, Spain) are offered in conjunction with host institution programs. Students studying abroad generally stay for one semester, but study in Tübingen requires the full year.

Distance Learning

The University offers online degree opportunities that include a Master of Arts in Chinese Studies and a Post-MSN Doctorate in Nursing Practice. The accelerated degree programs are Web-based and allow versatile learning.


Valparaiso University students are from geographically diverse backgrounds. Of the 4,000 students, only one-third are from the school's home state of Indiana. The remaining two-thirds come from almost every other state of the United States and over 40 foreign countries. Over two-thirds graduate in the top quarter of their high school class and nearly ninety percent return to Valparaiso after their freshman year. Annually, more than 26 million dollars are awarded by the university to over eighty percent of the student body, which is administered based on factors such as community involvement, interests, recommendations, and personality as well as grade point average, class ranking, and standardized test scores.

Sixty-four percent of Valparaiso University students live on the school's city campus, as University regulations require almost all students who do not have senior status to live in dorms. Thirty-five percent of students are Lutheran, but over twenty percent are Catholic and seventy-five percent participate in faith-related activities. Valpo supports over 100 student administered organizations, clubs, and activities. Fifty percent of students participate in intramural athletics, and over 1,000 students give over 45,000 hours of community service to the region annually.

Greek life

More than thirty percent of Valpo students are members of one of the school's nine national fraternities or seven national sororities. The entire Greek Life community is coordinated by the fraternities' Interfraternity Council and sororities in the Panhellenic Council. Valparaiso also hosts chapters of all major honors fraternities. Many of the fraternities were local until the 1950s when they were accepted as chapters into national and international fraternities. However, the sororities were local and had no national affiliation until 1998. Theta Chi was dismissed from campus in 2010.

Fraternities Sororities Honor Societies



Non-Fraternity Honor Societies

Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society


Valpo's colors are brown and gold and the school's mascot is the Crusader. Most athletic events are held in the Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC), which is the primary sporting facility on campus. Valparaiso's eighteen teams and nearly 600 student athletes participate in NCAA Division I (I-FCS for football) in the Horizon League, except for football, in which they compete in the Pioneer Football League (the Horizon League does not sponsor football) and play at Brown Field. The school is known for its well rounded athletes as 98% successfully graduate, which ties Valparaiso with the University of Notre Dame for the third highest graduation rate in the country.[1] Valpo is also known for its men's basketball head coach Homer Drew and his son Bryce Drew, who led the team to its Sweet Sixteen appearance in the 1998 NCAA basketball tournament by making "The Shot", a three-point shot as time expired to beat favored Ole Miss by one point. Bryce Drew was named head coach in the spring of 2011.[9] Valparaiso is also the home of the National Lutheran Basketball Tournament.

Notable faculty

Current faculty members

Notable alumni

More than 50,000 alumni currently serve in their respective fields across the world.


Methodist foundation

History at a glance
Valparaiso Male and Female College Established 1859 Affiliations Methodist
Closed 1871 to 1873
Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute Acquired 1873 Affiliations secular
Valparaiso College Renamed 1900
Valparaiso University Renamed 1906
Acquired 1925 Affiliations Lutheran

What is now Valparaiso University was founded by the Methodist Church in 1859 as Valparaiso Male and Female College, one of the first co-educational four-year institutions in the United States. Citizens of Valparaiso were so supportive of the placement of the College that they raised $11,000 in early 1859 to encourage the Methodist Church to locate there.

Students paid tuition of $8 per term (three terms per year), plus nearby room and board around $2 per week. Instruction at the college actually began with young children, and most of the students were in the elementary grade levels. Courses at the collegiate level included math, literature, history, the sciences, and philosophy. Courses stressing the Christian faith included "moral philosophy" and "moral science."

Valparaiso Male and Female College, circa 1870

The school was forced to close in 1871, due to the fallout of the Civil War. Not only did most of the men (both students and administrative members) enroll in an army, but Indiana had passed a bill in 1867 that provided for state support for public education, and the Methodists' very broad Indiana-wide efforts toward higher education meant that none of the schools were self-sustaining. This combination proved too much to overcome for the Male and Female College.[10]

Intermediate growth

The school was reopened by Henry Baker Brown two years later as the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute. The school was renamed Valparaiso College in 1900 and gained its current university status when rechartered in 1906. For the next two decades, Valpo gained a national reputation as an economical institution of higher learning, earning it the positive nickname The Poor Man's Harvard. At the height of enrollment, it was the second largest school in the nation, behind only Harvard University. However, the aftermath of another conflict, World War I, took its toll, and the school was forced into bankruptcy.

Lutheran revival

In 1923, the Ku Klux Klan assembled a bid to purchase the university.[11] At that time, the Pillar of Fire was publishing the pro-KKK monthly periodical The Good Citizen.[12] They pledged to offer the university's appraised value of $175,000, expand it to the size of Purdue University, and devote the institution to the instilling of Americanism.[13] However, in 1925 the Lutheran University Association outbid the Klan for the school's ownership. The association was a group of clergy and church laity that saw promise in the school and wished to create an academic institution not controlled by any church denomination. Valparaiso is still operated by the Lutheran University Association, and remains an independent Lutheran institution which enjoys close relations with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Student activism

As a liberal arts institution, Valparaiso University has a detailed history of student activism.

Kinsey Hall fire

While many colleges either amended or canceled the remainder of the 1969-1970 school year following the Kent State shootings due to unrest, the Valparaiso administration ignored student calls for a series of seminars and forums about violence at other campuses. A large group of students then organized a protest march from the campus Victory Bell to the Porter County courthouse. Continued protests led to discussions between the administration and student leaders. When these talks failed, a group of still-unidentified students set fire to the empty Kinsey Hall administrative building in the early morning. The aftermath of the fire left Kinsey Hall destroyed.

Venture of Faith

The existence of Valparaiso University's current College of Engineering is the result of student activisim. The university's engineering program had been reduced to a two-year associate's degree in response to reduced enrollment during economic depression which dominated the 1930s. When students began inquiring in 1948 regarding the possibility of restoring a four-year degree program, the current university president, O.P. Kretzmann, cited a lack of space and lack of resources to build a new facility. Students responded with an offer to build the new facility if he would guarantee faculty positions, to which the President agreed.[14] The students constructed the facility themselves using their engineering education and an intense fundraising campaign, and by 1951 the new College of Engineering was again granting four-year bachelor degrees. The building still exists today, home to the Art department. This story received national attention and was turned into a feature-length film entitled Venture of Faith.[15]

Burning of the shanty

During the 1988-1989 school year, a mock shanty town was erected on campus to show solidarity with victims of apartheid in South Africa. Mike Weber and Phil Churilla, two columnists for VU's student newspaper The Torch, wrote a column critical of the protest due to student use of portable CD players, wool blankets and packaged food in the shanties. A few days later the shanty town burned down and a culprit was never found.

Valparaiso University Police Department

For campus security, Valparaiso University employs a police department with academy trained and certified officers that sometimes assist other local law enforcement as a result of reciprocal agreements. Valpo has long been a dry campus,[16] but enforcement was raised dramatically in recent years,[17] and in the spring of 2006, the VUPD began considering placing officers on the campus escort vans in an attempt to curb underage drinking. Days later a city police officer entered the Sigma Pi fraternity house with his gun drawn, believing he had witnessed drug use through a window.[18] Though university officers only responded to the scene later, these incidents strained student-police relations further, prompting mass resignations of student drivers from the escort service and a protest of over 500 students.[19] The protests centered on the VUPD's increased focus on alcohol consumption and new placement of police officers with student escort services.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ Kaplan, Inc. (2008). Kaplan College Guide 2009 Edition. Kaplan Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 1427797501. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Valparaiso University School of Law Facts & Figures
  5. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2007". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  6. ^ "Magazine again cites Valpo for excellence, value". Valparaiso University. Retrieved 2006-05-01. 
  7. ^ "Valparaiso University". Charity Navigator. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  8. ^ "The College Sustainability Report Card". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  9. ^ Sports Illustrated - Bryce Drew replacing father Homer at Valparaiso (2011)
  10. ^ Valpo Magazine. 150th Anniversary Edition. Pp. 13-41. Valparaiso, IN: 2008.
  11. ^ "Klan Buys College Close to Princeton". The Harvard Crimson. October 31, 1923. Retrieved 2009-07-06. "Alma College is the second institution in the north avowedly run by the Ku Klux Klan to further its aims and principles. The other is Valparaiso University at Valparaiso, Ind., near Chicago, which was purchased outright by the Klan several months ago." 
  12. ^ "The Ku Klux Klan’s invasion of Indiana in the 1920s". The Rochester Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2005-09-21. Retrieved 2006-01-25. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Student Guide to University Life
  17. ^ Valparaiso University Police Department
  18. ^ VU fraternity house incident outrages students /
  19. ^

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