|Motto||In luce tua videmus lucem (Latin)|
Motto in English
|In Thy light we see light|
|Endowment||$235.2 million (2017)|
|President||Mark A. Heckler|
Valparaiso, Indiana, U.S.|
|Campus||Suburban, 350 acres (141.6 ha)|
|Athletics||18 Division I NCAA teams|
Brown and Gold|
Valparaiso University is a regionally accredited private university located in Valparaiso, Indiana, United States. Commonly known as Valpo, the university is a coed, four-year, Lutheran institution that enrolls about 4,500 students from over 50 countries on a campus of 350 acres (140 ha).
Valpo consists of five undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, and a law school. It is home to the second-largest collegiate chapel in the world, the Chapel of the Resurrection.
Originally named Valparaiso Male and Female College, Valparaiso University was founded in 1859 as one of the first coeducation colleges in the United States. Due to reverses brought about by the Civil War, the college was forced to close its doors in 1871. Two years later it was revived by educator Henry Baker Brown and named Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute. At the turn of the 20th century, Brown changed the college's name to Valparaiso College, and shortly after it was rechartered as Valparaiso University. Initially founded by Methodists, in 1925 the school was purchased by the Lutheran University Association, which continues to operate it today.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Academics
- 4 Reputation and rankings
- 5 Culture
- 6 Student body
- 7 Athletics
- 8 Notable people
- 9 References
- 10 External links
|Valparaiso Male and Female College||Established||1859||Affiliation||Methodist|
|Closed||1871 to 1873|
|Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute||Acquired||1873||Affiliation||secular|
Valparaiso Male and Female College
In 1859, citizens of Valparaiso were so supportive of the placement of the college that they raised $11,000 to encourage the Methodist Church to locate there. The school opened on September 21, 1859, to 75 students, and was one of the first coeducational colleges in the nation. Students paid tuition expenses of $8 per term (three terms per year), plus nearby room and board costs of approximately $2 per week. Instruction at the college actually began with young children, and most of the students were in elementary and grade levels. Courses at the collegiate level included math, literature, history, sciences, and philosophy. Courses stressing the Christian faith included “moral philosophy” and “moral science.” Due to the fallout of the Civil War, the school closed in 1871. At this time, most men (both students and administrative members) had enrolled in the army. In addition, Indiana passed an 1867 bill that provided state support for public education, and the Methodists' broad statewide efforts toward higher education meant that none of the schools were self-sustaining. The combination proved too much to overcome for the Male and Female College.
Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute
The school, reopened by Henry Baker Brown in 1873, was named the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute. In 1900, the school was renamed Valparaiso College and gained its current university status after being rechartered in 1906.
Valparaiso College, then Valparaiso University
Henry Baker Brown bought the American College of Medicine and Surgery from Northwestern University; he later changed the name to Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery. Students could save money by spending their first two medical college years in Valparaiso. In 1905 the university formed an affiliation with Chicago College of Dental Surgery to provide dental education for its students. For the next two decades, Valpo gained a national reputation as an economical institution of higher learning, earning its positive nickname The Poor Man’s Harvard. At the height of enrollment in 1907, it was the second-largest school in the nation, behind only Harvard University. In 1914, monthly literary magazine The Torch was founded; it became the university's weekly student newspaper in 1915. The university began intercollegiate athletic competition in 1916. Valpo's first game was a basketball game against the Chicago YMCA Training School, in which VU fielded players from intramural teams. In 1917, World War I and the death of President Brown took its toll, and the school was forced into bankruptcy. Valparaiso University sold the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery to Loyola University Chicago. In 1923, a fire destroyed the original 1860 Old College Building, and VU could not afford to clean the site. This was one of many financial problems Valparaiso faced in 1923, as President Horace M. Evans tried to settle a $375,000 debt. Evans appealed to the Rockefeller Foundation and other wealthy individuals before asking the Indiana state legislature to make VU public. The legislature refused, and Evans almost sold the university to the Invisible Hand of the Ku Klux Klan, but the deal was stopped due to "legal technicalities", likely cited to save face for both organizations. Valparaiso University was eventually bought by the Lutheran University Association, a conglomerate of National Lutheran Education Alliance and American Luther League.
In July 1925 the Lutheran University Association, affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, took over ownership of the school. 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 that enjoys close relations with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
On March 13, 1929, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the university. Two years later, President Kreinheder created the Valparaiso University Guild, a volunteer and philanthropy organization to help students, and in 1934 the Alumni Association began operation. The university's College of Engineering started a cooperative education program with Purdue University in 1938. At the end of the 1930s, the university completed a new gymnasium. In 1941, VU instituted its Department of Art. Coincident with the beginning of World War II, Valparaiso University renamed its yearbook from The Uhlan (a German soldier) to The Beacon. The next year Valpo changed its athletic team name from the Uhlans to the Crusaders.
In 1940, O. P. Kretzmann became president of the university. During his 28 years in office, he marshaled significant changes, many of which remain in place today. Valparaiso University bought about 90 acres (36 ha) of land in 1944 east of campus near the corner of Sturdy Road and US Highway 30. The large oak tree occupying this land was named "Merlin" and remains a central feature of campus. This purchase would transform campus, as the university moved to its current location over the course of many years.
Kretzmann increased student enrollment from 400 to more than 4,000. Academic rigor increased along with enrollment. VU created its Honor Code in 1943 and remains in place today, as students continue to write the code on top of assignments. After the conclusion of the Second World War, Valparaiso offered its first four-year degrees: mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering. On November 27, 1956, the Chapel-Auditorium burned down. The university quickly rebuilt its worship space: the Chapel of the Resurrection was dedicated on September 27, 1959. VU installed a subcritical nuclear reactor in 1958, and in the 1970s the University Branch of the United States Atomic Energy Commission called Valpo's nuclear physics lab "a model for all small universities wishing to provide excellent training in the field of undergraduate physics."
President Kretzmann founded Christ College, the honors college of Valparaiso University, in 1967. Christ College was only the third such honors college in the nation. The campus radio station WVUR-FM began broadcasting in 1960. Robert Kennedy spoke before 5,000 people in 1968 at VU while campaigning, and in the same year, the university began its long-standing international study centers in Cambridge, England, and Reutlingen, Germany. During student protests in 1970, Kinsey Hall burned. The first class of the College of Nursing graduated in 1971. In 1976, Valparaiso University began NCAA Division I competition.
In 1991, Valpo became home to the Lilly Fellows Program, a national program that supports young scholar-teachers, during its inaugural year. This program has grown to encompass almost 100 universities. The 1998 men's basketball team reached the Sweet Sixteen of the Division I national tournament. In 2002, a new international study center was established in Hangzhou, China. Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Valparaiso University in 2004. In 2013 the university completed a solar furnace and research facility, the only undergraduate institution to operate a solar furnace, and one of only five total solar furnaces in the US.
In 2008, Mark Heckler became Valparaiso University's 18th president. During his initial years in office, Heckler led the "most comprehensive and collaborative strategic-planning endeavor in the University’s history". The plan includes goals such as increasing enrollment to 6,000 students, multiple building initiatives, and increased global engagement.
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, 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, essentially rebuilding the facility. The school's fraternities and the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center are located on old campus as was the Martin Luther King, Jr., Cultural Center before acts of vandalism and arson destroyed the building in 2009. Old Campus is also the site of Valpo's Doppler weather radar. Located north of Old Campus is Lebien Hall, home to the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
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Beginning in the 1950s, the school expanded eastward to occupy what is now known as "new campus". Today, it is center of the university, home to thousands of students in nine dormitories as well as most of the academic buildings.
At the center of campus is the Chapel of the Resurrection, a 98-foot (30 m)-high building that 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. In 2011, Rev. Mark and Kathy Helge gave a $15-million gift for a major expansion to the chapel. The 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) addition opened in the fall of 2015.
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 opened in 2004 and 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, WVUR-FM, the university's student-run radio station, and VUTV, the university's student-run television station.
The Donald V. Fites Innovations Center, an addition to the College of Engineering's Gellersen Hall, was completed in the summer of 2011. The $13-million, LEED-certified building contains two suites of labs that support advanced undergraduate research in areas such as materials science and energy systems. 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 52,000-square-foot (4,800 m2) Arts and Sciences Building, located adjacent to the Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources, opened in 2012 and houses classrooms and offices for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility was dedicated in September 2013. Professors and students use the energy research facility, profiled in The Atlantic, in developing methods to produce low-carbon magnesium with 90 percent less fossil fuel energy than standard production methods.
The 202,000-square-foot (18,800 m2), $74 million Harre Union opened in 2009. Named in honor of former University President Alan F. Harre, who retired in 2008, it is more than three times the size of the previous union. The Harre Union has consolidated all dining services on campus, with the exception of the law school. 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, 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.
In June 2013, the Duesenberg Welcome Center on campus was completed for visitors coming to campus. The creation of this building was funded by Valparaiso University alumni, Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg.
A new residence hall, Beacon Hall, opened in 2014.
A "STEM village" consisting of three new buildings will soon replace Neils Science Center and become the new home for the biology, chemistry, and physics departments. The first of these buildings was completed in 2017. Neils Science Center was erected in 1974 and includes an astronomical observatory, greenhouse, and a now decommissioned sub-critical nuclear reactor that helped the facility receive an Atomic Energy Commission citation as a model undergraduate physics laboratory. The new 55,000-square-foot (5,110 m2) Center for the Sciences: Chemistry and Biochemistry opens in fall 2017.
Valparaiso is organized into five undergraduate colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Nursing and Health Professions, and Christ College.
College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences offers a personalized education that integrates liberal arts and professional development. It provides hands-on, undergraduate research opportunities and internships to accompany the classroom experience. With more than 70 academic programs in 21 departments, the College of Arts and Sciences supplies the liberal arts core for all programs.
College of Business
The College of Business is among the elite 25 percent of undergraduate business programs nationally accredited by the AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The College of Business offers focused majors in accounting, business analytics, finance, international business, management, and marketing. Starting 2018 Fall, the college of business is offering a new major and minor in supply chain and logistics management.
College of Engineering
The 2017 U.S. News & World Report named the College of Engineering the 13th-best undergraduate engineering program among institutions that do not have doctorate programs. The College of Engineering won the 2012 Engineering Award presented by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering. About 90 percent of undergraduates complete the program within four years. The college provides several service learning opportunities as well as undergraduate research opportunities.
College of Nursing and Health Professions
The Virtual Nursing Learning Center offers patient stations complete with interactive mannequins, beds and equipment simulating a hospital environment. The baccalaureate, master's, and DNP programs at Valpo are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Christ College is the interdisciplinary Honors College of Valparaiso University. Known on campus as "CC", Christ College was chartered by President O. P. Kretzmann in 1967. In 1964, Kretzmann convened a committee to plan a successor to the Directed Studies Program, which was established to better serve the influx of gifted students to the institution. This new college within VU would seek students who had "a passion for learning and the pursuit of excellence generally."
The Christ College curriculum was to be based, in part, on the University of Chicago's "Liberal Arts" core model. Incoming freshmen would read classical texts and use the Socratic Method to discover "that they did not know what they thought they knew." In subsequent years, courses that transcend assignment to a particular academic discipline challenged students to explore important questions from an imaginative perspective. This structure remains intact today as every freshman enrolls in the Freshman Program, which consists of a 16-credit, two semester course that introduces students to classic works of history, literature, art, music, philosophy, religion and theology, and social science.
In addition to classes, a number of traditions create camaraderie and foster the intellectual formation of students. The most notable of these annual events are the fall Christ College Freshman Production and the spring Christ College Oxford Debates. The Freshman Production is an original play or musical that is written, scored, choreographed, directed, produced, and performed exclusively by members of the Christ College freshman class. The Christ College Oxford Debates are a series of formal debates in which two groups of students represent either the affirmative or negative side of a topic they have researched for the previous five or six weeks. Following debate, the debate moderator asks the audience members to "vote their minds" and decide the winner of the debate. Another notable academic opportunity offered by Christ College is the Student Scholarship Symposium, in which undergraduates present research in a formal lecture setting. It features student-selected research projects, from a diverse set of academic fields, delivered in a critical and interactive environment. Students in the college often spend a semester studying abroad at one of Valpo's overseas study centers; many take a Christ College Abroad course, which are led by faculty each spring break.
Approximately 90 students, or 10 percent of the university's incoming class, are admitted each year. Students in the honors college concurrently enroll in another undergraduate college at VU, and have the option to complete their study with a major or a minor in humanities to complement the major received in their main field of study. In 2013, Peter Kanelos became the fifth Dean of Christ College, succeeding Mel Piehl. Piehl had led the college for ten years after Mark Schwehn stepped down from the position. The fall of 2017, Professor Jennifer Prough took the position of interim Dean after Peter Kanelos stepped down, becoming the first female Dean of CC.
Valparaiso University offers a variety of master's programs in Business, Chinese Studies, Education, English Studies and Communication, Information Technology, International Commerce, Policy, Liberal Studies, Nursing, Psychology/Counseling, International Economics and Finance, and Sports Administration.
Founded in 1879 the Law School was accredited by the ABA in 1929 and the AALS in 1930. In 2010, Valparaiso Law Students had an 83 percent first-time bar pass rate. After a censure by the American Bar Association in October 2016, the university sought to downsize the law school or merge it with another institution. In November 2017, the University announced the law school would not enroll a new class in 2018, and in March 2018 announced that the law school's dean had resigned but would continue as a professor.
More than a third of all undergraduate students study abroad, placing Valparaiso University among the top 40 institutions in the country. VU offers more than 40 study-abroad programs around the world, and the duration of study-abroad programs ranges from a week to a full academic year. In 2013, the U.S. Department of State named VU as one of the colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright scholars. Between 2003 and 2013, 26 Valparaiso students studied abroad as a Fulbright scholar.
Valpo maintains four global study centers (Cambridge, England; Reutlingen, Germany; Hangzhou, China; and San José, Costa Rica), each of which provides group trips and excursions, a course on the life and culture of the host country, and specialized housing, all under the guidance of an on-site resident director. Valpo partners with International Education Programs, or IEP. Other sites students are able to study in include Athens, Greece; Granada, Spain; Zaragoza, Spain; Cergy-Pointoise, France; La Rochelle, France; Paris, France; Limerick, Ireland; Newcastle, Australia; Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany; Tübingen, Germany; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Delhi, India; Coimbatore, India; Osaka, Japan; Viña Del Mar, Chile; Puebla, Mexico; and Windhoek, Namibia.
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.
Reputation and rankings
|U.S. News & World Report||4|
|Master's University class|
Each year since 1990, U.S. News & World Report has listed Valparaiso University as a top-ten regional university in its "America's Best Colleges" rankings. In the 2017 rankings, Valpo was ranked fourth in the Midwest. U.S. News & World Report rated Valpo first in "Best Value Schools", first in "Best Undergraduate Teaching", and third "Most Innovative".
Most first-year undergraduate students take a year of Core, an interdisciplinary course rooted in liberal arts and focused on understanding the purpose and fulfillment of human life. About a tenth of incoming freshmen alternatively participate in the freshman program of Christ College. Students are also subject to an honor system originally implemented by the students themselves in 1943, which remains in effect today. Each January, the school holds a week of Martin Luther King Jr. events as a major annual event and invites provocative keynote speakers.
Valparaiso University Students are from geographically diverse backgrounds. Of the 4,000 students, only one-third is from the school's home state of Indiana. The remaining two-thirds come from almost every other state of the United States and from nearly 50 countries. Over two-thirds graduate in the top quarter of their high school class and 83 percent return to Valpo after their freshman year. Annually, more than $26 million is awarded by the university to more than 80 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-one percent of Valparaiso University students live on the school's city campus, as University regulations require nearly all students who do not have senior status to live in residence halls. Twenty-seven percent of students are Lutheran, and 75 percent participate in faith-related activities. Valpo supports more than 100 student-administered organizations, clubs, and activities. Fifty percent of students participate in intramural athletics, and more than 1,000 students give more than 45,000 hours of community service to the region annually.
More than 25 percent of Valpo students are members of one of the school's nine national fraternities or six national sororities. The entire Greek Life community is coordinated by the "Interfraternity Council" for fraternities and by the "Panhellenic Council" for the sororities. Many of the fraternities were local until the 1950s, when they were accepted as chapters into national and international fraternities. The sororities had no national affiliation until 1998.
In the 2013-2014 Fraternity & Sorority Life Annual Report, more than 10,000 hours of community service and $45,000 of financial report to local and national non-profits were reported. All but one organization had a cumulative GPA above 3.0 during the spring semester, and the average GPA across all Greek Life was 3.247.
In 2015, the University announced plans to construct new housing for all five sororities. The two-story, 21,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) building will occupy a site west of the Athletics-Recreation Center. Each sorority will occupy a 25-bed portion of the complex and share a single chapter room. Construction will begin in March 2015 and be completed by the end of the year.
Valparaiso hosts chapters of all major honors fraternities, including Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society.
- Alpha Epsilon Delta
- Alpha Lambda Delta
- Alpha Psi Omega
- Beta Gamma Sigma
- Chi Sigma Iota
- Gamma Theta Upsilon
- Eta Sigma Phi
- Kappa Delta Pi
- Lambda Pi Eta
- Sigma Alpha Iota
- Sigma Theta Tau
- Sigma Tau Delta
- Tau Beta Pi
- Pi Delta Phi
- Pi Sigma Alpha
- Phi Alpha Theta
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Phi Epsilon Kappa
- Chi Epsilon Pi
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 activism. The university's engineering program had been reduced to a two-year associate 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. 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's 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.
- 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.
- 2006 Protests
During the Spring 2006 semester, a Valparaiso police officer entered a fraternity house with his weapon drawn under suspicion of alleged drug use. During the same time period, Valparaiso University police officers began riding the University's escort service vans in an effort to catch drunken students on the dry campus. Since the escort vans were used by students as a safe alternative to driving while intoxicated, several van drivers quit in protest. As a result of these two incidents, over 400 students organized a protest and march on campus to demonstrate against the Valparaiso University Police Department and ask the Board of Directors to make policy changes.
On December 11, 2014 nearly 100 Valparaiso University students participated in a "Die-In" protest. This type of protesting was very popular at the time, and was meant to show solidarity of the Valparaiso students with members of the Ferguson community.
On December 9, 2014, an anonymous group, who had claimed to be Valparaiso University students, placed plastic bags and signs that read "I can't breathe", "Black lives matter", and "All lives matter" on the heads of the Borders statutes, created by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, that are placed around campus. These signs were placed in light of the recent deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. The artistic protest was meant to raise awareness of institutional racism.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act March
In Spring of 2015, Valparaiso University students marched from the University's campus to Valparaiso City hall, protesting the newly enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the state of Indiana. Students and members of the local Valparaiso community felt that the law encouraged discrimination against members of the LGBT+ community, and felt strongly against the use of city funds being used to support any businesses associated with the Act itself.
Valparaiso University's student media organizations (WVUR: The Source, VUTV, The Beacon, The Torch, and The Lighter) are all award-winning and long-standing. Although the organizations are all award-winning, many of their student participants have also won awards for their work in the student-run media organizations.
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 mostly participate in NCAA Division I (I-FCS for football) in the Missouri Valley Conference. Valparaiso competes in four sports that the MVC does not sponsor. The football team plays in the Pioneer Football League at Brown Field. Men's swimming and men's tennis compete in the Summit League, and bowling (a women-only sport at the NCAA level) competes in the Southland Bowling League.
In 1942, Valparaiso University fielded the tallest basketball team in the world, and the so-called "Valparaiso Giants" or "The World's Tallest Team" played at Madison Square Garden in the 1944-1945 season. The VU football team played in the Cigar Bowl on New Year's Day 1951. 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. Valparaiso is also the home of the National Lutheran Basketball Tournament.
Recently the Crusader men's soccer team has been successful, winning the Horizon League regular season conference championship in 2011. Men's basketball followed with a 2011 Horizon League crown of its own while the baseball and softball teams both won regular season and Horizon League Tournament titles, representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament. In addition, the Crusader bowling team earned a berth at the NCAA Championships in just its third season of existence. In addition, Head Coach Carin Avery led the Crusader women's volleyball team to great success recently. In their 2014-2015 season they will be pursuing their 13th consecutive 20-win season. The Crusaders are one of 10 programs nationwide to have won at least 20 matches in each of the last 12 years, during which time Avery has led the Crusaders to three conference regular season and tournament championships, as well as advancing to the NCAA Tournament on three occasions. In the spring of 2013 the men's golf team won the Horizon League Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Division I teams include baseball (men), basketball, bowling (women), cross country, football (men), golf, soccer, softball (women), swimming and diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. The university has cheerleading and Crusaderettes spirit squads, as well as several intramural and club sports: flag football, innertube water polo, miniature golf, sand volleyball, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball.
- Faisal Kutty, law; internationally recognized scholar, writer and public speaker
- Walter Wangerin, Jr. English and theology; National Book Award winning author of The Book of the Dun Cow
- Marcia Bunge, theologian in Christ College from 1997-2012 who researches children and childhood in religion and ethics
- R.J.Q. Adams, M.A. 1969, historian
- Adam Amin, ESPN play-by-play broadcaster
- Roy E. Ayers, member of the United States House of Representatives and as the 11th Governor of Montana
- Fredrick Barton, novelist and film critic
- Chris Bauman, entertainment entrepreneur and independent music activist 
- Frederick M. Bernthal, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 1988 to 1990
- Anthony Bimba (1894-1982), Lithuanian-American Communist historian and newspaper editor
- Beulah Bondi, actress
- Mikhail Borodin, Soviet and Comintern representative to China
- John E. Cashman, Wisconsin State Senator
- JoBe Cerny, owner, Cerny/American Creative; character actor and voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy
- Paul Chambers, CNN anchor/film critic
- Stoyan Christowe, writer, journalist, member of the Vermont Senate from 1959-1972.
- Patrick Roger Cleary, founder of Cleary University
- Jay Christopher, cofounder of The Pampered Chef
- Thurman C. Crook, a United States Representative from Indiana
- Andre "Add-2" Daniels, rapper
- Blanche Evans Dean, naturalist, conservationist, and author; honored in the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame
- Marcellus Dorwin, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- Bryce Drew, former NBA player
- Paul Eggers, Texas Republican gubernatorial nominee, 1968 and 1970; Distinguished Alumnus, 1978
- Michael Essany, television talk show host
- Don Fites, chairman and CEO (retired), Caterpillar Inc.
- Edward Grassman, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- Walter Hunt, Wisconsin State Senator
- Samuel B. Huston, former attorney and state legislator in Oregon
- Andrieus A. Jones, Senator, supported New Mexico statehood (1885)
- Reuben Kahn, immunologist and inventor of a test for syphilis
- Barbara Ann Kipfer, prolific linguist and lexicographer
- Keith Kizer, former executive director, Nevada State Athletic Commission, and Nevada Chief Deputy Attorney General
- Edgar E. Lien, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- Cal Luther, college basketball coach
- John Lutz, actor, "30 Rock;" writer, "Saturday Night Live"
- Jacki Lyden, a senior correspondent at NPR and author of Daughter of the Queen of Sheba
- William March, novelist, Company K, The Bad Seed
- Lloyd McClendon, MLB player and manager
- James F. McDowell, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- H. Lane Mitchell, public works commissioner in Shreveport, Louisiana, from 1934 to 1968; graduated from Valparaiso with degree in engineering
- George William Norris, United States Senator from Nebraska and father of the Tennessee Valley Authority
- Eugene E. Parker, sports attorney and agent to Larry Fitzgerald, Dion Sanders, Hines Ward, Greg Jennings, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Crabtree, and many other NFL players
- Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, United States federal judge
- William Edmunds Plummer, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- Caleb Powers, United States Representative from Kentucky; Secretary of State of Kentucky; convicted as an accessory to murder of the state governor
- David Ruprecht, host, Supermarket Sweep, Real People
- Paul Schrage, designer of the "Golden Arches" logo; senior vice-president and Chief Marketing Officer McDonald's Corporation, 1967–1997
- Kathi Seifert, Executive Vice President Kimberly-Clark 1991-2004, one of Forbes Magazine's top 10 businesswomen 2001
- James Monroe Smith, president of Louisiana State University, 1930-1939
- Len Small, 26th Governor of Illinois
- Rene Steinke, novelist of The Fires and Holy Skirts
- Donald Edgar Tewes, United States Representative from Wisconsin
- Lowell Thomas, author of over 50 books, a war correspondent during World War I who made T.E. Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia internationally famous in print and by filming him; pioneer broadcast journalist; world traveler; 1976 Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Jill Long Thompson, United States Representative from Indiana 1989-1995, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development 1995-2001, 2010 Presidential appointee to board overseeing the federal Farm Credit Administration.
- Frederick "Fuzzy" Thurston, All-pro guard for the Green Bay Packers, 1959–67
- Jim Wacker, former football coach at the University of Minnesota
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