Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University

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Valparaiso University is a private university located in Valparaiso, Indiana, less than an hour's drive southeast of Gary, in the state's northwestern reaches. It is commonly referred to as simply “Valpo.”Valparaiso University was chartered by the Methodists in 1859, as Valparaiso Male and Female College. It was one of the first co-educational, four-year institutions in the United States.Although forced to close in 1871, by the reverses of the Civil War, the college reopened in 1873, as the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute. Valparaiso has been a Lutheran institution since 1925.Valpo’s 310-acre campus consists of 60 academic and residential buildings. It enrolls nearly 3,750 students each year, and has a faculty-student ratio of 1:13.The Valparaiso University School of Law is a support facility that is designed to provide academic degrees, special programs, and research in a personal manner. The programs are delivered in close harmony with clinics, externships, and legal research and writing programs.The Christopher Center Library houses about 350,000 book titles and substantial collections of videos, DVDs, and CD-ROMs. It provides access to thousands of audio recordings in various formats and equipment.In addition to academic facilities, the university offers opportunities in social, cultural, and sports-oriented activities. More than 100 co-curricular organizations, a center for the performing arts, and a chapel are located on the university campus.The chapel, one of the largest collegiate chapels in the world, is the site for university convocations and other events. It offers a wide variety of activities for learning, service, and personal growth.Valparaiso University Center, a 275-seat art center, is home to the Brauer Museum, and a wide range of programs in art, music, and theater. Plays, concerts and public presentations are scheduled at the center.

Tag: Valparaiso University

Jimmy Stewart and Beulah Bondi, courtesy of the Porter County Museum.

Beulah Bondi’s is not a recognizable name today, but her face certainly is. You’ve likely seen it in classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The Valparaiso, Indiana native portrayed Jimmy Stewart’s mother four times on film, including Vivacious Lady and Of Human Hearts, in addition to Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith. According to the Chicago Daily Tribune, Stewart affectionately called Bondi “Mom.” By the ripe old age of 39, Bondi was cast to play characters well beyond her age and she became the equivalent of “Hollywood’s mother,” despite herself never marrying or having children.

Depiction of Bondi’s character in “Track of the Cat” (1954), courtesy of

“America’s greatest character actress,” according to United Artists, MGM, and Paramount, was born Beulah Bondy in 1888. She got her start at the age of seven as “Little Lord Fauntleroy” at Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House. After the lead actress fell ill, she had one week to memorize 47 pages worth of lines and became hooked on acting after delivering them on the stage. The young actress was drawn to “dramatics” and the stage throughout her public education, including her time at the Convent of the Holy Name and Valparaiso University.

After graduation from university, she traveled the Midwest with a theatrical touring company. The Valparaiso Vidette Messenger reported that she changed her last name to “Bondi” at the suggestion of an Indianapolis journalist. Bondi noted, laughing, that “‘He said all of the letters in my name should be above the [credit] line.”

“The Shepherd of the Hills” promotional material, 1941, accessed

Following her work with an Indianapolis stock theater company, Bondi began her professional acting career in 1919. She was promptly informed by her first director that she “‘had no more talent than on the head of a pin.'” This criticism equipped her to endure even the most difficult directors of stage and film. In 1925, Bondi made her Broadway debut, beginning a prolific Broadway career that would eventually deliver her to Hollywood acclaim. According to the Valparaiso Vidette Messenger, film producer Samuel Goldwyn viewed her Broadway performance as a bigoted neighbor in the three-year run of Elmer Rice’s “Street Scene” and brought her to Hollywood.

From “dowagers to harridans,” Bondi deliberately chose character work, embodying each of the characters she played. In 1929, the Valparaiso Vidette Messenger printed excerpts of colorful New York reviews of Bondi’s portrayals:

“As a catty and scandal mongering neighbor Miss Beulah Bondi never overplays a role that would tease a lesser actress to do so.”

“Beulah Bondi who was so good in ‘Saturday’s Children’ and so amusing in ‘Cock Robin,’ turns out a gossipy busy body with remarkable detail and rare effect.”

In “Street Scene:” “the comedy relief is intrusted [sic] to the greatest character actress in America, Beulah Bondi. Hers was a magnificent performance.”

Bondi reflected in 1976 that “With each part, I ‘meet the woman’ for the first time when I read the script . . . And then I imagine her past life-what made her into the character she is.” She appeared in over 50 major films, appearing with Hollywood greats such as Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyk, and of course her “son” Jimmy.

Beulah Bondi, James Stewart, Guy Kibbee, and Ruth Donnelly in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” courtesy of Getty Images, accessed

The Vidette Messenger noted that Bondi came to be greatly respected by directors because she:

“was never given ‘The Grand Build-up’ by inspired press agents. She is just one of the ‘old timers’ on the various lots, highly capable and highly dependable. Neither temperamental nor demanding, she is an actress to delight both producers and directors. She choses [sic] her parts with great discrimination, asking always the best, and always giving her best.”

Montage: The Journal of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Vol. 1 No. 1, (May 1939), p.22, accessed Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Bondi received recognition and accolades for her supporting roles, receiving commendation by the New York Times for her role in the 1939 film On Borrowed Time, in which she played opposite Lionel Barrymore. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1936 for The Gorgeous Hussy and 1938 for Of Human Hearts. At the sunset of her career, Bondi received an Emmy award in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series for her portrayal as Aunt Martha on an episode of The Waltons.

The Vidette Messenger aptly concluded in 1976 that Bondi “deserves a place in the series of local celebrities-and unlike some who have gone off to conspicuous success in the entertainment world-she never belittled the town that was the scene of her childhood. She is a product of Valparaiso-and proud of it.” In her 80s, Bondi quipped to the newspaper that same year “‘I never played an actress my own age . . . I now play girls of 16.'” The acclaimed Hoosier passed away on January 12, 1981 in Hollywood, leaving behind a legacy of compelling silver screen characters.

Jo Mannies, “Beulah’s Debut 47 Pages Long,” Valparaiso Vidette Messenger, April 13, 1976, 1.

About Us

The Welcome Project collects first-person audio and video stories and pairs its stories with facilitated conversation to foster curiosity about difference and to forge stronger communities as those communities become increasingly diverse. All of the stories gathered by the Welcome Project are first-person accounts in which participants describe how events mattered to them. We value these accounts for the perspective they provide on experience even when the stories do not reflect the views of the Welcome Project staff. First person stories derive their power from the specific location of a particular individual. By valuing each individual perspective, we hope to provide a space where a collective portrait begins to emerge.


We began collecting stories in the fall of 2010, stories that we hoped would provide entrance into each others’ lives and illuminate the complexity of living together amidst increasing diversity and difference. We relied heavily on the Center for Civic Reflection’s model of civic reflection to enrich our understanding of self and community, and developed a practice of using Welcome Project stories to lead conversations on campus – through presentations, student organizations, faculty and staff meetings, MLK Day, and diversity/inclusion workshops. Within two years, we extended our reach by forging initial connections with interested civic partners through a 30-minute presentation, and in 2014, we partnered with the Porter County Museum to host a exhibition of our work.

Much of our time has been spent working and training students to participate in the Project through for-credit, internship, and volunteer opportunities. We have worked with students through a one-credit service learning course, which we’ve tailored to teach students how to interview others for the Project. We’ve implemented service learning assignments in courses such as Introduction to Creative Nonfiction where students are trained to interview people for the Project and responsible for producing two- to three-minute stories from the material they gather. Through the work of the students and our own endeavors, we have accumulated over 370 interviews and posted over 350 stories to our website for use in classrooms, exhibitions, study circles, workshops, and other artistic and pedagogical endeavors. Since our start in 2010, our project has grown considerably in size and scope:

The Invisible Project

The Invisible Project exhibit at the Porter County Museum

What does it mean to have a home? What happens to an individual, family, or community when faced with homelessness? Homelessness in Porter County does not conform to traditional assumptions about who experiences homelessness and why it occurs. The Invisible Project, an innovative traveling exhibit, makes visible local stories of homelessness through first-person stories, infographics, and art.

In 2015, we were approached by the Porter County Coalition for Affordable Housing, Housing Opportunities, Gabriel’s Horn, and Dayspring Women’s Center to collect stories on homelessness in Porter County. Together with the Porter County Museum and Prof. Yeohyun Ahn’s 598 Graphic Design course in the graduate digital media program at Valparaiso University, we developed a mobile exhibit that is touring Porter County. You can find The Invisible Project stories here.

Flight Paths: Mapping Our Changing Neighborhoods

In 2015, we embarked on a digital humanities initiative centered on the changing racial and economic demographics of Gary and Northwest Indiana, beginning with the rise of black political power and opportunity in the 1960s, the “flight” of white residents and businesses to the suburbs, and the automation and consequent underemployment of the steel mills. Eventually, Flight Paths will be a multimedia initiative to help participants, both regionally and nationally, engage and analyze factors contributing to de-urbanization and the fracturing of neighborhoods, communities, and regions in post-industrial America through the specific example of Gary, Indiana. Stories and texts will also help participants consider the opportunities residents found and continue to find in the face of de-urbanization. We hope to launch cross-county conversations about what it means to be good neighbors by looking honestly at our past. Flight Path team members consist of faculty from Valparaiso University, Indiana University Northwest, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Pacific Lutheran University. In December 2016, we received the NEH’s Digital Projects for the Public discovery grant to create a design document for the website, and in December 2018, we received their Digital Projects for the Public prototyping grant. Find Flight Paths stories here.

This interview by Purdue University Calumet’s Communications Department gives a great introduction to our history and our practice as well as our latest initiative collecting stories in Gary, Indiana.

In the news

  • Chris Nolte interviewed co-director Allison Schuette about our Indiana Humanities supported presentation of the Flight Paths prototype with IUN’s Center for Urban and Regional Excellence. It aired on Regionally Speaking from Lakeshore Public Radio (19 Feb 20).
  • “Flight Paths: Mapping Our Changing Neighborhoods Opening Animation,” won a Visualization Showcase Presentation Awards at PEARC19 – Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing in Chicago, IL (July/Aug 19).
  • Joyce Russell interviewed co-director Allison Schuette and updates Northwest Indiana residents on our Flight Paths initiative. “Flight Paths Region history project takes wings” (5 Mar 19). from Valparaiso University and press release from Lakeshore Public Media announcing our NEH Digital Projects for the Public grant of $100,000 to build a prototype of the Flight Paths interactive documentary website (Jan 2019).
  • Chris Nolte from Lakeshore Public Radio’s Regionally Speaking interviewed co-director Allison Schuette about Flight Paths and our NEH Digital Projects for the Public grant (23 Jan 19).
  • The Welcome Project and our Flight Paths initiative were recognized by the National Humanities Alliance in their Humanities for All, which “showcases over 1,500 examples of publicly engaged humanities work at colleges and universities across the United States” (8 Dec 18).
  • The Post Tribune mentions Flight Paths after co-director Allison Schuette presents on it to the Gary Common Council. “Valparaiso University hopes to help document Gary neighborhoods, history” (2 May 18).
  • The Northwest IN Times‘ Joyce Russell interviewed co-director Allison Schuette about receiving Valparaiso University’s Kapfer Research Award, which will support our Flight Paths initiative. “Valparaiso University professor using personal stories to tell Region’s history” (16 Nov 17).
  • Stories are now being aired regularly on Lakeshore Public radio (Aug 2017). Listen in on Tuesdays!
  • Keith Kirkpatrick interviewed us for his show Lakeshore Focus. First aired 24 Feb 17.
  • Co-Director Allison Schuette gives a TEDx Talk at Valparaiso University based on her experience with the Welcome Project. “The Art of Building Relationships for Social Justice.” (23 Dec 16.)
  • The Post Tribune’s reporter, Jerry Davich, wrote about us interviewing him! “Oral history project maps ‘Flight Paths’ of region residents” (16 Dec 16).
  • Valparaiso University’s student paper, The Torch, featured the opening night of RE/FRAMING HI/STORIES in “Accounts of Porter County Told in a New Way” (4 Nov 16).
  • “The More the Obstacles Fall Between Us: An Interactive, Multi-Media Performance to Develop Empathy and Prompt Action,” a chapter co-written by Liz Wuerffel and Allison Schuette in From Research to Action, edited by Littleford, L. N. & Alexander, C. A.
  • Coverage of our exhibition, RE/FRAMING HI/STORIES, in the Northwest IN Times:run up to the event (19 Oct 16) opening night (27 Oct 16).
  • Slag Glass City, a creative nonfiction and multidisciplinary media journal engaged with sustainability, identity, and art in urban environments, published co-director Allison Schuette’s audio essay,”Busy Enough to Take in the Likes of Me,” on her experiences researching in Gary, Indiana (22 Sept 16).
  • Lakeshore Public Media’s Regionally Speaking interviews Elizabeth Allen of the Porter County Coalition on Homeless and Megan Telligman of the Porter County Museum about the Invisible Project (17 Aug 16).
  • Northwest IN Timesarticle describes the NEH Enduring Questions course that co-director Allison Schuette will develop, “Who’s My Neighbor?” (2 June 16).
  • The Welcome Project partnered with area non-profits to raise awareness on homelessness in Porter County, creating an exhibit called “The Invisible Project.” The Post-Tribune reported on the exhibit opening (22 Mar 16)
  • Northwest IN Timesarticle highlights the Welcome Project’s Flight Path initiative in their Campus Spotlight section (19 Nov 15).
  • The Welcome Project received the 2015 Urban League of Northwest Indiana’s community relations award, as reported in the Northwest IN Times (19 Mar 15)
  • Valparaiso University highlights the collaboration of co-director Liz Wuerffel, Sarhang Sherwany, and Saddam Al-Zubaidi on the documentation of Syrian refugees in the Kurdish region of Iraq (21 Nov 14) hosts the Welcome Project exhibit, “The More the Obstacles Fall Between Us” (Apr-May 2014)
  • Northwest IN Timesinterview with Liz and Allison on the history and work of the Welcome Project (23 Jun 13)
  • Northwest IN Times promotes its Diversity Summit and Job Fair at which the Community Outreach committee presented “The Changing Faces of Our Communities” (23 Jun 13)
  • Northwest IN Times reports on the Welcome Project’s community outreach presentation to the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce (11 Apr 13)
  • Valparaiso University recognizes the Welcome Project and Holly Singh as MLK Day Award recipients (11 Jan 13)
  • Northwest IN Times reports on the Welcome Project’s first community outreach presentation to Valparaiso’s Human Relations Council (23 Oct 12)
  • Valparaiso University’s student newspaper, The Torch, reports on the background of the Welcome Project (28 Sept 12)

Our thanks

Our work on the Welcome Project has been enriched and equipped by so many people. We’d like to thank Elizabeth Lynn for teaching us how to ask good questions Aimee Tomasek for photographing participants designer Jp Avila at Pacific Lutheran University other faculty and staff at Valparaiso University for support and use of the project including Yeohyun Ahn for leading students in design work for The Invisible Project initiative and Phil Powell for his early support our community volunteers including Tina Porter the many students who have produced thought-provoking clips and, most of all, our storytellers.

Our work is not without important influences. We helped bring to campus Claudette Roper’s other state, in conjunction with the Brauer Museum of Art. This multimedia installation exploring the vestiges of racism through the lives of forty African-Americans both provides one model for the Welcome Project and initiates the kinds of conversations the Project is interested in facilitating. We are additionally indebted to StoryCorps and First Person American for serving as models of how to collect and share stories, and to the Center for Civic Reflection in modeling ways to use stories to enrich our understanding of self and community through conversation. We have many community partners and community members supporting our work: the Porter County Museum, Lakeshore Public Media, Miller Beach Arts and Creative District, Indiana University Northwest’s Calumet Regional Archives and the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence, Gary Historical and Cultural Society, the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, United Urban Network and StoryCorps. We’ve been grateful to receive funding for specific initiatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts – Indiana Arts Commission – South Shore Arts. The Invisible Project mobile exhibit was funded in part through Valparaiso University’s Cultural Arts Committee, the Porter County Community Foundation, the Porter County Museum, and several local donors. Many thanks.

Woke At Last: Indiana’s Valparaiso University Cancels Crusader Nickname and Mascot

(AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

Our long national nightmare is over: all decent, properly woke people will be relieved and grateful that the one-time bastion of racism and Islamophobia in Indiana, Valparaiso University, is dropping its Crusader nickname and mascot. According to Valparaiso’s interim president Colette Irwin-Knott, “the negative connotation and violence associated with the Crusader imagery are not reflective of Valpo’s mission and values, which promote a welcoming and inclusive community. This is the decision that best reflects our values and community.” Yes, of course. Everyone knows that defending Western civilization, and being proud of those who did so, is out of the question these days. Nothing could be more unwoke.

Valparaiso student president Kaitlyn Steinhiser elaborated on the decision by saying: “The Crusader does not [represent the university] effectively. Valpo is and always has been a faith-based institution, and we want to make sure our symbolism is in alignment with our beliefs and speaks to the core values of the Lutheran ethos. At Valpo, we strive to seek truth, serve generously and cultivate hope. We do not believe having the Crusader as our mascot portrays these values.”

In any case, all this shame over the Crusader name, and expiating renunciation, is completely unwarranted. As The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS shows from primary sources, the Crusades were not, as the good people at Valparaiso University evidently assume, an unprovoked exercise of racist proto-colonialism directed against a peaceful Muslim world.

The Crusades were in reality a late, small-scale defensive response after 450 years of jihad attacks had conquered and Islamicized what had previously been over half of the Christian world.

Armies animated by the jihad ideology (or that eventually justified their actions by recourse to it) had occupied much of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain — as well as Persia and much of India — centuries before a Crusade was even contemplated. They had entered France and besieged Constantinople, the capital of the Christian Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, several times.

The Seljuk Turks’ victory over the Byzantines at Manzikert in 1071, when they took the Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes prisoner, opened all of Asia Minor to them. In 1076, they conquered Syria in 1077, Jerusalem. The Seljuk Emir Atsiz bin Uwaq promised not to harm the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but once his men had entered the city, they murdered 3,000 people.

That same year, the Seljuks established the sultanate of Rum (Rome, referring to the New Rome, Constantinople) in Nicaea, perilously close to Constantinople itself from there they continued to threaten the Byzantines and harass the Christians all over their new domains. The Byzantine Empire, which before Islam’s wars of conquest had ruled over a vast expanse including southern Italy, North Africa, the Middle East, and Arabia, was reduced to little more than Greece. It looked as if its demise at the hands of the Seljuks was imminent.

The Church of Constantinople considered the Pope a schismatic and had squabbled with him for centuries, but the new Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus swallowed his pride and appealed for help.

And that is how the First Crusade came about: it was a response to the Byzantine Emperor’s call for help against Muslim invaders who threatened to destroy the Christian empire.

It is undeniable that the Crusaders committed many atrocities. So did their jihadi opponents. But in the main, the Crusader endeavor was not an exercise in imperialism or racism, but an attempt to protect Christians from jihad attacks.

So why shouldn’t Valparaiso University have a Crusader mascot and take pride in its own culture and heritage? Because that culture is spent, and weak, and confused, and anxious to appease a much more confident alternative culture that regards the Crusades as an affront.

The West continues its cultural self-abnegation in the face of the chimera of “Islamophobia” — a propaganda neologism designed to make people ashamed of defending themselves and their homeland against a newly aggressive Islamic jihad.

Valparaiso University is not alone. The rush to disavow any connection to Crusaders is part of a larger tendency to remain in denial about the jihad aggression that threatens so many in the world today. It manifests an acceptance of the Islamic view of history — which has been aggressively thrust upon the West in recent decades — that blames the origin of conflict between Muslims and Christians upon the evil Crusaders despite the timeline that proves this false.

At a time when the Crusaders’ ancient jihadi foes are newly invigorated and more aggressive than they have been for centuries, this cultural self-hatred is a recipe for disaster.

And as an aside, it’s interesting to note that Valparaiso University is dropping its nickname because it evidently thinks it glorifies the Crusaders, while the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins, and others have dropped or are in the process of dropping theirs because they think they’re demeaning to Native Americans. So are sports nicknames a sign of approval or of hatred and ridicule? The answer all depends on what will give you the most woke outcome.

Initially, Valparaiso University's library was located in the old college building, which burnt down in 1923. After the fire, the library was moved into East Hall. East Hall functioned as the library for approximately two and a half years.

When the University was bought by the Lutheran University Association, East Hall was torn down and the library was relocated to Heritage Hall late in 1925. Since Heritage Hall had been used as a training center during World War I, much effort was put into making the building usable.

Heritage Hall

Although there had been plans for the construction of a new library when it became evident that Heritage was too small, the combination of World War II and the Great Depression prevented the University from having the funds to undergo such a project. Also, when the old gym was destroyed by a fire, the construction of a new gym took precedence over the construction of a new library. In 1956, the chapel also succumbed to a fire. Since Heritage Hall was next to the chapel, it was feared that wind would cause the fire to spread to Heritage Hall. Thus, students and faculty members climbed on the roof of the building and threw off the hot coals that landed on the roof. Although the fire did not actually spread to the library, students and teachers took preventative measures and attempted to rescue and move as many books as possible. Unfortunately, since a number of books were dropped in the snow during this process, their efforts may have been more detrimental than helpful. Two years later, however, the dream of a new library was actualized with the construction of Moellering Library.

Valparaiso University drops Crusader mascot incoming president expected to lead quest for replacement

Valparaiso University’s controversial Crusader mascot is on the way out, with the decision on a new mascot expected to come from the university’s incoming president with input from the campus community.

“This is the right thing to do at the right time and for the right reason,” said Interim President Colette Irwin-Knott, who announced the decision Thursday in a video message to the campus community and alumni along with Kaitlyn Steinhiser, president of the student body.

While the Crusader has been the university’s mascot since a switch from the Germanic calvary soldier the uhlan in 1942 because of the rise of Nazi Germany, those involved with the effort to remove the Crusader said that discussion began decades ago but didn’t gain cohesion until this summer, after protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and growing awareness of racial injustice that followed, as well as the use of Crusader imagery during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Irwin-Knott put together a task force to examine the matter, which sent out a survey to students, alumni, faculty and staff for feedback on the Crusader. In all, 7,700 respondents took part in that survey and more than 80% of them identified “Valpo” as the university’s dominant brand, compared to 2.5%, who selected the Crusader.

Sewing Together the Pieces of History at Valparaiso University: “The Singer of Shanghai”

“ The Singer of Shanghai” tells the story of the Abraham family and their experience of escaping the Holocaust. Using information collected by Dr. Kevin Ostoyich the students will write their own script based on various articles, interviews, and other materials provided to them in class. The course and production are co-instructed by historian Dr. Kevin Ostoyich, and director Dr. Kari-Anne Innes.

According to Kevin Ostoyich “The goal is to produce a total learning experience that involves in-depth investigation of a historical subject, the translation of the historical material into a theatrical drama and performance. At the end of the semester, students will perform their production to the Valpo community”. “The Singer of Shanghai” like previous productions will be based on the experiences of Nazi Germany Jewish refugees seeking safety in Shanghai. When the rest of the world closed their entrances to their countries, Shanghai provided a safe place for the refugees to live until the Japanese takeover of China in 1943. Under Japanese instruction the Jewish community was required to live in what is referred to as the “Shanghai Ghetto” which was a designated area in Hongkou where they remained until the end of World War II. The production is unique this year for two reasons. The first being with the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus many people are beginning the process of adapting their work or academic life to one that is on a digital platform. The second reason “The Singer of Shanghai” is unique this year is because a Singer sewing machine is one of the focal points in this play. The play tells the story of Ida Abraham and how she used her Singer showing machine to make a living for her family during their time in Shanghai as well as using her knowledge to teach other women to sew.

Anyone interested in hearing the empowering story that Historical Theatre students are learning and writing about are courteously invited to listen to the the production over the YouTube Channel “Historical Theatre: Shanghai Jewish Refugees beginning on May 12, 2020.

Valparaiso University was first founded in 1859 with the hopes of creating an institution with a foundation based on liberal arts, in addition they offer professional training and graduate studies to help students pursue a future that will set them on a path to personal, spiritual, and professional growth.

For any questions that arise please contact Dr. Kari-Anne Innes at 1-219-464-6843 or [email protected] If you are interested in seeing how Dr. Kevin Ostoyich became interested in the history of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees please visit

● The production tells the actual story of a family seeking refuge in Shanghai, China during World War II.

● The production is written and produced by current students in Valparaiso University’s Historical Theatre Course: The Shanghai Jews.

● The production will be broadcast over the YouTube Channel “Historical Theatre: Shanghai Jewish Refugees on May 12, 2020.

Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University

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The Chapel of the Resurrection was built and dedicated in 1959, and it was just as bold an architectural statement then as it is today. It is the towering focal point of Valparaiso University’s suburban campus and a strong reminder of its Lutheran character and heritage. The building is the largest collegiate chapel in the United States, and has become a nationally recognized symbol for the university and regional northwestern Indiana.

The Chapel’s main worship space is designed to focus visitors’ attention in one direction, and those who oblige will not be disappointed. Walking the length of the building’s nave, the unadorned, solid* red brick walls lead toward the dazzling, light-filled chancel.

This is where the Chapel pulls out all the architectural stops. The golden Christus rex floats above the altar, perfectly framed in the star-shaped room. The ceiling is more than 100 feet tall, and the walls seem to be made almost entirely of glass. Three of these window-walls are floor-to-ceiling stained glass, showering the whole space with beautiful, colored light. Look closer and the windows begin to reveal scenes from the Bible, history and education. The sight is simply breathtaking, and even in this age of 21st century technological glitz, modern viewers will (and should!) succumb to the urge to take a seat and marvel for a while.

Other details of the building’s design are worth noting as well. Stairs on either side of the altar lead below to the smaller Gloria Christi chapel, used for more intimate services or recitals. Back on the main floor, if you spin to face the way you came, the nave walls reveal themselves to be not so solid after all. Instead it’s a series of staggered sections, broken up by floor-to-ceiling windows that beam light into the room, forward toward the altar. These windows are intentionally invisible as you approach the altar they are only unveiled on the way back.

In other words, the building’s design means that worshippers enter in relative darkness, singularly drawn to the spectacularly lit chancel at the far end. There, a transformation takes place (you’ll feel it), and then the whole building shines as you return to the world, newly forgiven and perhaps a little more enlightened.

Looking backward, it is also impossible to ignore the magnitude of the Reddel Memorial pipe organ filling the rear wall. This is one of the largest instruments of its kind in the country, and is part of what makes the Chapel of the Resurrection a frequent stop for choirs, orchestras, holiday concerts and more. More than 5,500 pipes “float” on the wall — look for the horizontal trumpet-like ones! — and are controlled by a 4-manual console in the balcony. There are ranks of pipes (each with vastly different sounds) for every occasion and taste, which is good because Lutheran tradition is chock-full of sacred music from every period.

Beginning with Martin Luther’s own simple hymns, music has always been essential in the life and worship of Protestants. The rich tradition has only grown since Luther’s time, thanks in no small part to the works of titans like Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Pachelbel, Felix Mendelssohn and Paul Manz (all Lutherans). This organ is a tribute to that heritage, and is worth hearing if possible. It’s frequently in use during the academic year, not only for weekly services and occasional concerts, but also for students taking private lessons or practicing.

When construction began on the Chapel in 1959, Valparaiso University (known as “Valpo” to insiders) was just a tidy collection of buildings nestled nearer to downtown, at the intersection of Freeman Street and College Avenue. The small school had just lost its historic chapel-auditorium building to fire, and a postwar spike in enrollment was straining its other housing and academic facilities. In response, the University began the march east, purchasing houses and the vacant land stretching all the way to then-rural Sturdy Road. One of the first priorities was to build and dedicate a new Chapel on its frontier, ushering in an unprecedented era of expansion in the school’s history.

The building itself was financed in part by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and designed by architect Charles Stade to be the anchor around which the “new campus” would spread. And so it has. In the 50+ years since its construction, the land surrounding the Chapel has changed dramatically, and alumni from every era are subject to disorientation. To most students and professors, this land is no longer “new,” it’s just “campus,” home to the vast majority of Valpo’s administrative, academic and residential facilities. But one thing about campus hasn’t changed much, and that is the Chapel of the Resurrection’s role: at the physical center of campus, and at the spiritual center of the University.

Update: An addition to the Chapel was completed in fall 2015. Known as the Helge Center after its alumni benefactors, it connects to the Chapel at the rear and extends to the southeast. The expansion provides a few modern necessities (accessible restrooms, additional offices and larger practice space for musicians, etc.) but its design was careful to visually complement the Chapel’s iconic stance on campus. The low-slung, dark exterior shrinks in comparison with the Chapel’s tall, vibrant brick facade, and a courtyard separates the two buildings to preserve the light and airy views from those large, staggered window bays along the Chapel wall.

Know Before You Go

When classes are in session, the Chapel of the Resurrection is open to the public every day between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call for summer hours and information: (219) 464-5093.

Service times (all during August-May): 10 a.m. Sundays, traditional Lutheran worship (75 min.)10 p.m. Sundays, Candlelight Evening Prayer Services (30 min.) 10 a.m. weekdays, Morning Prayer (20 min.) 10 p.m. Wednesdays, contemporary Christian worship ("Celebrate!")

Driving directions: The recommended scenic route for driving to/from the Chapel from any direction (except west see below) is via the main campus entrance on US-30. Consider stopping at the University's visitor center immediately on the left to grab a campus map driving, parking and sidewalk navigation on campus can be tricky! Otherwise follow the road where it leads. You'll soon encounter a silly stop sign behind a building where you can only turn right. Do so, then turn right (north) again at the next stop sign. Continue, then turn right again at the stop sign onto Chapel Drive. Follow directions below.

Driving from the west/downtown, it's easiest to take Union Street straight east until it becomes Chapel Drive. Look for visitor parking in Lot 15 on the north side of the street just past McIntyre Court. The Chapel will be visible to the west just look for the tall, stylized bell tower. (Handicap parking and dropoff is available at the entrance just continue on Chapel Drive until it dead-ends.)

Marriage, Husband and Children

Ginger Zee is married to Benjamin Aaron Colonomos, popularly known as "Ben Aaron," a television personality. Ben works on the popular television show "Crazy Talk." When they first met, Aaron was working with NBC Universal's LXTV. Before their wedding, Aaron made a hilarious video showcasing how he met his future wife and how they surmounted the problematic task of dating despite being from two rival television channels. The video, available on the internet, showed Ben's funny side and was well received by viewers, primarily when Ben uses a male dummy as a sit-in for his future bride to show viewers how he proposed to Ginger.

After a long-term relationship with Aaron, the couple got engaged in 2013. They married on a beach in Petoskey, Michigan, in June 2014, where Ginger spent every summer during her formative years. They held two ceremonies. One was a private event for their vows, and the second was a more public traditional event in front of 55 guests later the same day. Ginger Zee has taken on her husband's name privately, her legal name is Ginger Renee Colonomos, but she also retains her professional name, Ginger Zee, for public appearances.

After her marriage, Zee admitted that she was looking forward to parenthood at some point in the future and that both adopted and biological children could be a part of those plans. The public announcement that she was pregnant was made on June 29, 2015. When asked about her pregnancy on national television, the weather anchor replied, "The forecast for delivery is in December." She also mentioned that viewers of her show seemed to suspect that she was pregnant, even before she announced it to them. Ginger and Ben gave birth to a son named Adrian Benjamin.

Ginger shows her social spirit every Wednesday of the week when she talks to school children about weather and meteorology. She is an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Valparaiso University. In addition, Ginger has shot many episodes for Discovery Channel's popular show "Storm Chasers." By all accounts, she is a role model and not just your average "weather girl."

Valparaiso University - History

Porter County, 41 miles SE of the Loop. Valparaiso, the county seat of Porter County, Indiana, is at best an hour&aposs drive south and east from Chicago&aposs Loop. The roads are often so clogged, however, that the trip can take somewhat longer.

Traffic flows both ways. Many residents of Valpo, as it is familiarly known, work in Chicago or frequently take advantage of its cultural and other opportunities, while many Chicagoans are drawn to the small-town security and other amenities of Valpo and environs.

Valparaiso means “Vale of Paradise.” The name is Spanish but the pronunciation is American, Val-pah-ray&aposzo. Tradition says that the name was suggested by sailors who served under Commodore David Porter, a hero of the War of 1812 for whom the county was named. His ship, the Essex, was lost in a famous battle at the harbor of Valparaiso, Chile.

The land where Valparaiso now stands was purchased by the federal government in 1832. Among the first settlers of the new acquisition was Thomas Campbell, who scouted the area near the Sauk Trail. Some 80 years later the nation&aposs first transcontinental highway, U.S. 30, was constructed following the route of this old Indian trail through Valparaiso.

In 1834 J. P. Ballard built the first house in what became the town of Portersville, its name until christened Valparaiso in 1837. After Porter County was established by the Indiana General Assembly in 1836, the first county board of commissioners, meeting in Ballard&aposs kitchen, selected Portersville as the county seat.

Portersville was created by land speculators. The town site, centered on a public square that was donated to the county, was carved into lots that sold for an average price of $100. It took only three years for the Portersville Land Company to sell every lot in town.

The area was heavily wooded with oak, ash, maple, birch, and pine trees. Wild fruit, nuts, and game were plentiful. Sawmills were quickly started. Settlers concentrated on farming and trade. Benjamin Harrison, who later became president, often hunted and fished here.

The city has experienced steady growth. Its population in 2000 was 27,428, although the Valparaiso Post Office service area embraces nearly 70,000 inhabitants. In the decade of the 1990s about 2,000 residential building permits were issued.

Residential growth has been accompanied by new and expanding industrial development. For example, the Hoosier Bat Company has provided baseball bats to Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa and others, while Urschel Laboratories, founded in 1910, designs and manufactures food processing equipment sold worldwide.

Valparaiso is widely known as the home of Valparaiso University and its magnificent chapel. One of its noted citizens, the late Orville Redenbacher, is honored each year on the first Saturday after Labor Day by the city&aposs annual Popcorn Festival.

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