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Valparaiso University leader to kick off inaugural events for Thiel College President Susan Traverso


Valparaiso University leader to kick off inaugural events for Thiel College President Susan Traverso

GREENVILLE, Pa.—A day of events Friday, May 5 at Thiel College designed to celebrate the installation and inauguration its 20th president, Susan Traverso, Ph.D., will begin with a chapel service where her friend and colleague, Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler, Ph.D., will deliver the keynote address.

The chapel service is at 11 a.m. May 5 in the David Johnson Memorial Chapel. Heckler, the leader of one of the nation’s largest Lutheran universities, will highlight the values of Lutheran higher education.

Heckler took office in October 2008 as the 18th president of Valparaiso. He is chair of the board of Independent Colleges of Indiana; chair of the Board of Indiana Campus Compact; and co-director of the Leadership Institute of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Heckler serves on the board of the Private College 529 Plan, the NCAA Division I Horizon League, and the NCAA Pioneer League for non-scholarship football. He is also the former board chair of the New American Colleges and Universities. He is a frequent invited speaker at national and international conferences and workshops, including recent presentations at the American Council on Education, the Association of Governing Boards, the Council of Independent Colleges, and the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America.

Heckler worked with Traverso while he was a trustee of Elizabethtown College.

Elizabethtown College President Emeritus Theodore E. Long, Ph.D., will introduce Traverso during the inauguration and installation ceremony at 2 p.m. May 5. Delegates from regional colleges and universities will participate in the procession for that ceremony.

The title of Traverso’s keynote speech is, “Roll Up Experiences and Think.” Traverso was announced last May as the first female president in the 150-year history of the leading northwest Pennsylvania liberal arts college, being unanimously selected by the Thiel College Board of Trustees for her prolific career in higher education, significant achievements in leadership, and fundraising accomplishments at Elizabethtown College and other institutions.

In her first year, she has overseen the completion of the Thiel 2016 Campaign—raising $65 million, the largest fundraising campaign in school history—as well as the implementation of a new strategic plan and development of new programs designed to engage first-year students. She also broke ground on a $4.5 million, 7,850-square-foot “Science Connector” expansion that is scheduled to be completed this summer. Also set to be finished this year is a new track and field facility.

A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the Howard Miller Student Center terrace and campus lawn.

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Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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