Valparaiso University is a small, private Lutheran university located in Valparaiso, Indiana. With its foundation in a strong program of liberal arts, it serves a full-time student body of approximately 3600 students, primarily undergraduate. It is organized into six colleges offering a wide variety of academic pursuits:

As a religious institution, religion and faith are important to many of the students, faculty, and administration (though perhaps not as all-pervasive as at other facilities of Christian higher education). The elaborate chapel is, accordingly, the most prominent building on the campus. The university's motto also reflects its emphasis on Christian scholarship: "In luce tua videmus lucem" (meaning "In Thy light we see light"). Although Valparaiso University claims to be an "Independent Lutheran" school, it still (as of 2002) maintains strong ties with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

One interesting aspect of scholarship at Valparaiso is that of the Honor System which was begun by students to uphold academic integrity. The central tenet of this system is the Honor Code which states: "I have neither given or received nor have I tolerated others' use of unauthorized aid." Every student must sign this Honor Code on every piece of academic work. This Honor System is enforced by the Honor Council, a body of students that investigates and conducts hearings upon supposed violations. If found in violation, a student faces penalties ranging from failure in their course, to suspension from the university, to expulsion.

As far as student life goes, the small and somewhat undeveloped Valparaiso, IN is not what one would call the quintessential example of a college town. In fact, first-year students, who cannot have cars on campus without special permission, are often at a loss for what to do when wanting to get off campus as most movie theaters and other such attractions are a 20 minute drive away. In spite of this, many do get their dose of personal freedom (and yes, also the Freshman Fifteen) through the active participation in fraternities and sororities.

In the wide world of college sports, Valparaiso is known for its NCAA Division I Basketball. The team is able to compete with large state schools, quite an accomplishment as its student body is near one-tenth the size of most of theirs. Upon his graduation in 1998, Valparaiso student Bryce Drew was drafted into the NBA. The school's mascot is the Crusader, and its colors are brown and gold.

Valparaiso University's History:
"In its 141 year history, the University has passed through three distinct phases. Begun by Methodists in 1859 as an institution pioneering in coeducation, the Valparaiso Male and Female College was forced by the reverses of the Civil War to close its doors in 1871. It was revived in 1873 by an enterprising educator, Henry Baker Brown, as the Northern Indiana Normal School. "Mr. Brown's School," a flourishing private, proprietary institution, was renamed Valparaiso College in 1900 and rechartered as Valparaiso University in 1907. During the next twenty years, it won national recognition as a low-cost, no-frills institution of higher learning which served thousands of students who might not otherwise have been able to afford a good education. Many alumni from this period achieved distinction in their fields as governors, legislators, scientists, business leaders and other professionals. However, after World War I the University went into decline and bankruptcy; then, in 1925, The Lutheran University Association purchased it, beginning the modern phase of the University's history. The Association, an Indiana Corporation composed of men and women affiliated largely with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, is an independent organization actively promoting higher education in the Christian context" (Valparaiso University General Catalog: 2001-2002, 7).
Notable faculty and students:

Sources:
Personal experience
Valparaiso University General Catalog: 2001-2002. Valparaiso: Lutheran University Association: 2001.

Location: Valparaiso, Indiana. It's freakin cold here...

History: uuuhh... I guess I wasn't quick enough here, but dammit I've had this write-up in the works for several months now and it ain't going to waste now! Anyway, I won't repeat what's already been said here.

Academics: VU teaches a good number of study areas for its size (around 3,000 to 4,000 undergrads). This is one of the reasons why I chose to come here. The have: engineering college, business administration college, arts & sciences college, nursing college, and an honors college (named Christ College). They have a school of law too, but who cares about the law? And of course you can go to another country and learn their shit too, like Japan, Germany, Britain, among others.

Life at VU: It ain't bad. The food sucks (naturally)--and there's no all-you-can-eat cafeterias here! Anyway, it's a very beautiful 310-acre campus with an awesome church building in the middle of the new part of campus. It's huge. We use it as a land-mark, since we can see it almost anywhere on campus (and off).

Valpo is pretty big on the Greek thing. Frats and sororities are all over the place, and parties are held in at least a few of them every weekend (one or two every day, even). They host campus-wide parties as well, for fundraising of some sort or to spread a word.

We're pretty much in a college town where the only real source of entertainment comes from the Super Wal-Mart. Just don't do anything with the old janitors hanging around. They're a bunch of bitches. Anyway, if Wal-Mart doesn't have what you want (which is very, very rarely), then you'll have to drive to Merrivile, which is about 20 minutes away. And if you can't find what you want there, then it doesn't exist. Every chain store in existence is there. So is every restaraunt. But if you're still bored, Chicago is only about 45 minutes away. The only problem is actually getting off campus. It's really hard if you don't even have a bike (like me) and your friends who own cars just don't want to use them. It's like, what the fuck. You have a car, you use it. Or should. Dammit...

Speaking of cars, the parking lots are full during the week, but after Firday around noon, they suddenly dissappear, and the campus is empty. Everyone leaves on the weekend. Why? Beats the shit out of me. I travelled 1300 miles to get here for one reason: to get away from home. A lot of kids go home for the weekend for some stupid reason. Not even free food and travel could temp me to go back home. I want to be on my own, and this is it. Freeeeeeedooooomm!!!

Some other info about this place for students and the curious alike....

  • The nerds here (Electronic Information Services) suck ass. They're flat-out morons. Ask a friend if you need computer help. The EIS will just tell you to uninstall your firewall and any p2p programs you have. According to them, "anything peer-to-peer is bad"...
  • The cafeterias close when they say they're open. The Round Table is your only hope of on-campus food before 11pm. And the food everywhere is ridiculously expensive.
  • Every weekday at around 3 or 5pm (depending on the season), a bunch of guys get together and play Ultimate Frisbee behind the VUCA. We usually get two games going since around 20 people show. We have enough nice, huge lawns to accommodate us all.
  • For the curious, our mascot is a Crusader. A stupid one. But I don't really see it around all that much, so I'm not too bothered by it. It looks gay though.
  • We're coed by floor at Valpo--we like it...
  • The ratio here is an amazing 60-40. Us dudes are quite a bit out-numbered. We like that too.
  • Sources: http://www.valpo.edu/

    Academics:

    I went to engineering school at Valpo. I think they have a very tough engineering program there. It was certainly tough for me, because I had to work like a madman to keep my grades up. While, this might be a good thing, meaning the school is very competitive. I question whether we really benefitted from being worked quite that hard. I graduated with good grades, but I can honestly say that I never want to work that hard again. I'm talking going all out every day plus the majority of the weekend. I went on to graduate school at Colorado State and it was so much easier, and more fun (more on that later). I received a masters in Mechanical Engineering at CSU but now do web development for a living. Go figure. So, was all the hard work at Valpo. worth it. Good question.

    Social Life:

    Now, here is where Valparaiso really sucked for me. I'm no social butterfly but I managed to have lots of friends and fair amount of success with the opposite sex in high school. Unfortunately, this came to an end at good old Valpo.

    First of all, the chics there were on average some of the most unattractive I have ever run across. I don't know if this is a Midwestern thing or what but it was simply the truth.

    Another thing is that I was very out of place there. I believe it was probably a combination of politics and religious beliefs and social class. Having grown up Lutheran, I thought I'd have a lot in common with people at VU. Wrong. I consider myself moderate and open minded (of course everyone thinks of themselves as a moderate). Valpo. kids by and large a bunch of fundamentalists and if you don't have the same religious beliefs as them and like the same football team they do, you can pretty much forget about fitting in. VU people in general seem to be extremely clanish. Also, Valpo. is a bit expensive so there is a lot of money from Chicago there. I also believe this raises the brat factor to an abnormal level.

    The fraternity thing is simply suffocating. If you're not the fraternity type than there is almost nothing to do.

    Now for some positive things, about a different place. Colorado State University is simply awesome. I think it was one of the best times of my life. I met my wife there and spent my free time biking, skiing, hiking, camping, and playing soccer and frisbee golf. I made more friends in the first 2 weeks than I did in 8 semesters at Valpo.

    Sometimes people have bad times in there life and have to wonder if it is them. Fortunately, the problem isn't always you. Sometimes the place you are is just a really bad fit. So, if you are like me (see above to get an idea of what kind of person I am) stay the hell away from Northern Indiana, Valpo., and the Midwest in general.

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