2017 VUAA Award Winners
Each fall during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, the Valparaiso University Alumni Association recognizes alumni who have made notable contributions to society and the University. Valparaiso University granted its first alumni awards in 1958, establishing a Valpo tradition of recognizing the great work our alumni continue to do after graduation. These alumni exemplify Valpo’s core values in professional and service roles, and we are proud to count them among our numbers.

2017 Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award

Robert Bryant ’85

Alumni Achievement Award
Kathryn Kleinhans ’80
Susan Spaeth ’85

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Christine Laning ’07 Uptain
Benjeman Nichols ’99 (awarded in 2016; to receive in 2017)

Alumni Service Award
Kathryn Wernicke ’72 Baerwald
Victoria Flood ’92
Dot Allwardt ’60 Nuechterlein

Alumni Community Service Award
Kenneth Bailey ’59
Walter DeMoss ’64
Philip Hahn ’71, ’75 MALS
Anton Lutz ’03

Nominations for 2018 alumni awards will be open December 1, 2017 through February 15, 2018. At that time, online nomination forms will be available.

Selection Process

The Valparaiso University Alumni Association solicits nominations for the awards from all alumni, former award recipients, and other members of the University community. An alumni award committee comprised of the VUAA Board of Directors reviews the materials submitted for each candidate and selects nominees whose achievements fit the category for which they have been nominated and who are deemed most deserving of recognition. The names of those selected are then recommended to the Association’s Board of Directors and the University president for action.

The deliberations of the awards committee and the board are kept confidential. Those individuals chosen to receive awards will be honored during the Homecoming and Reunion Weekend worship service or at another appropriate time.

Alumni enrolled at or employed by the University and voting members of the University’s Board of Directors and the Association’s Board of Directors are not eligible.

Nominations may be submitted electronically or by mail (see below). Your nomination should include:   

  • A completed nomination form with your name and address and that of your nominee and her or his supporters.
  • The candidate’s curriculum vitae or resume (if available and appropriate), plus any other information you feel will be relevant to the committee's decision.
  • Letters of support (optional) from others who know your nominee and of her or his accomplishments (see below for more information).

Letters of Support
Additional references can be an integral part of the nomination process. If you desire, you may have two other individuals provide letters of support. You can either provide the letters with your nomination packet or make certain that supporters send their letters directly to the Valparaiso University Alumni Association address below. Letters that comment knowledgeably about the individual’s specific achievements are the most important and helpful. Possible contacts include professional colleagues and fellow volunteers, former students, former classmates, and friends. Please share the criteria for the awards and the suggestions listed below with those writing letters in support of your nominee.

Supporters should answer the same basic questions:


  1. What is your relationship to the candidate, and how have you gained your knowledge of her or his accomplishments?
  2. Which of your candidate’s achievements fulfill the criteria for one of the Valparaiso University Alumni Association awards?
  3. What impact has your candidate had on the profession, service, or community in which he/she has been active? In general terms, please explain the impact of the candidate’s work.
  4. Do you know what relationship the individual has maintained with the University, its faculty, students, or other alumni since graduation?
  5. Has your candidate’s work had an influence on the broader community beyond her or his own sphere of vocational or volunteer achievement?
  6. Why is this an appropriate time for the individual’s achievements to be recognized?

Submitting Your Nominations

Nominations forms (required) and other supporting materials (recommended) may be submitted electronically or by mail.

VUAA Award Committee
Loke Hall
Valparaiso University
1100 Campus Drive South
Valparaiso, IN 46383


The online Nomination Form will be available in December 2017. Click here for a downloadable version of the Nomination Form. Please note that "The First Decade Achievement Award" is not listed on the paper form, however, just write in the name of the award and complete as usual.

Nominations must remain confidential. Please do not inform candidates that they have been nominated, since only a limited number of awards are presented each year.

Have questions?
Alumni Engagement
Tel: 219.464.5142
Fax: 219.464.5467
Email: alumni@valpo.edu 

The VUAA recognizes alumni in seven different areas of achievement.

The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award is the highest distinction the alumni association can bestow. This award honors alumni who have enhanced the prestige of the University by virtue of their character, integrity, and nationally recognized personal accomplishments.

The Alumni Achievement Award
honors alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their chosen career or area of professional life.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Award honors alumni, under the age of 40, who have enhanced the prestige of the University by virtue of their character, integrity, and personal accomplishments.

The First Decade Achievement Award honors alumni for outstanding professional achievement, community service, and or service to the University in the first decade following the completion of his/her undergraduate degree. Alumni are eligible for this award at any time through their 10th reunion year. (NEW AWARD STARTING IN 2018)

The Alumni Service Award
recognizes alumni who have rendered outstanding service to the University.

The Partners in Service Award
honors individuals who have worked jointly to render significant service to the University, with at least one of the individuals being a Valparaiso University alumnus/alumna.

The Alumni Community Service Award honors alumni who have enhanced the prestige of the University by virtue of their character and integrity through outstanding service in their community, including religious, civic, or charitable organizations or programs, either local or national in scope and structure.

Honorary Alumni Membership
is granted to persons who are not alumni, but who exemplify the ideals of achievement and service in their association with the University.

Archive of past recipients coming soon.