Valparaiso was founded in 1859 by the Methodist Church as the Valparaiso Male and Female College. In 1871 the school closed due to a combination of the Civil War and an Indiana bill that provided state support for public education, meaning the Methodist colleges in the state weren’t self sustaining enough to stay afloat. Thus it shut down, only to be reopened two years later as the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute by Henry Baker Brown. In 1900 it was renamed Valparaiso College and then gained university standing in 1906. However during WWI the school closed down once again until 1925 when it was bought up by the Lutheran University Association. Today, the school continues to be an independent Lutheran institution and is in fact the largest in the country.
Valpo’s campus is made up of more than 60 buildings on 320 acres at the south side of Valparaiso. In the center of the pedestrian campus sits the Chapel of the Resurrection, where formal ceremonies and regular worship services are held. The campus is also home to the Brauer Museum of Art, with a collection of American, religious, and Midwestern art. The new geography and meteorology building, Kallay-Christopher Hall, recently added an observation deck and installed a Doppler weather radar. The campus continues to expand, and Valpo just opened a brand new student union that holds all dining facilities on campus, a bookstore, lounge areas, meeting rooms, a ballroom, and an outdoor terrace.
Valpo is located in Valparaiso, Indiana, a small town just an hour southeast of Chicago. There are two other colleges in the town aside from Valpo: a satellite campus of Purdue University North Central and an Ivy Tech campus. Nearby, students can find a plethora of outdoor activities at Lake Michigan and the Indiana dunes. The charmingly retro city has a drive-in theater and an annual Popcorn Festival every summer to commemorate former resident Orville Redenbacher.
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JoBe Cerny (1970) is a character actor and the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Jay Christopher (1967) cofounded The Pampered Chef.
William March (attended) authored Company K and The Bad Seed.
David Ruprecht (1970) hosted the shows Supermarket Sweep and Real People.
The Valparaiso Crusaders are an NCAA Division I school and participate in the Horizon League in every sport except football where they compete in the Pioneer Football League. Valpo graduates 98 percent of their athletes, tying with Notre Dame for the third highest graduation rate in the country. The school has varsity teams for football, cross country, volleyball, soccer, basketball, swimming, track and field, tennis, softball, and baseball.
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At its first founding in 1859, Valpo was one of the first co-educational four-year colleges in the US.
Valpo’s mascot is the Crusader.
Though it is affiliated with the Lutheran church, only 35 percent of the students are Lutheran.
Valpo has nine residence halls and two campus apartments for the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who are required to live in university housing. Most dorms are co-ed with double rooms and community bathrooms, though upperclassmen have first pick for the nicer halls with single, double, triple, and quad rooms. A couple of the residence halls are themed, with one reserved for members of the campus sororities and another for students studying German language and culture. The University’s apartments are newer and swankier than the traditional options, with suite-style living where two to four students have private bedrooms and share a bathroom and common area. The only catch is you have to be an eligible upperclassman to snag a spot in this arrangement.