Valparaiso University Hosts Winter Commencement 2016

Valparaiso University Hosts Winter Commencement 2016
By: Tim Moran Last Updated: December 12, 2016

On Sunday, December 11, students and their families gathered at Valpo University to celebrate all of the hard work they put into graduating. Each and every student who graduates from Valpo University walks away with a strong foundation in who they are, and where they’re going.

Parents hugged their students and posed for photos before the ceremony.

“I’m really excited and proud!,” said Laura Geekie, whose daughter Sarah was graduating with a degree in English. “Valpo University has been such a good fit for my daughter. They have been really amazing.”

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During the ceremony students from the Law School, Graduate School, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Engineering and the College of Nursing and Health Professions received their degrees.

“You are thoughtful leaders, generous with your time and dedicated to making a difference” President Dr. Mark Heckler said of the students. “You have impacted people across the country, community and world.”

Scholarship, faith, service, and freedom are some of the principles Valpo University hopes to instill in its students. Dr. Heckler encouraged students to continue upholding the values they learned from Valpo University. As students join thousands of other graduates, VU hopes they represent Valpo University proudly throughout their lives.

The Honorable Christopher A Nuechterlein, J.D. is an alum of Valpo University who has held these principles to their highest meaning. He graduated from Valpo University as an undergrad in 1973, and again in 1976, when he celebrated graduating from the Valpo University Law School.

For 16 years, Judge Nuechterlein served as United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Indiana. As a trial judge, he worked on cases concerning constitutional law, copyright, trademark disputes and employment discrimination, among others. He was a federal prosecutor for 15 years as well.

Judge Nuechterlein began his commencement speech by telling a series of lawyer jokes. He then moved on to a more important matter. Freedom of speech. He voiced his concern about colleges restricting content that could potentially make students uncomfortable.

“By engaging in civil debate and discussion, we will learn from one another,” Judge Nuechterlein said. “It is in this atmosphere that the university fulfills its highest calling by teaching its students the skills of critical, analytical thinking and the talent to engage in civil debate with someone whom they might disagree with.”

Paige Peterson, a student of Psychology was very excited to graduate, as well as a little nervous.

“It’s like the ultimate goal, it’s what you dream about when you’re in grade school or high school, said Peterson. “I’m here with one of my best friends, we’ve known each other since kindergarten, and we get to do this together and that’s very sweet.”

Excited chatter erupted from the students as they moved their tassels at the end of the event, signifying their status as graduates.