The Valparaiso University Guild is a unique organization with a long and rich history of faithful service to the University. Young alumni may be surprised to learn that the Guild’s history extends beyond Guild Hall and annual fundraisers like care packages, and so the history presented below aims to share the significant contributions the Guild has made to Valpo over the course of more than 85 years.

Primary source research for the history below is drawn from Valparaiso University Guild History 1931–1981 (printed August 1982, copyright 1982 by the Valparaiso University Guild, Inc.) and from Richard Baepler’s Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning: A History of Valparaiso University (Concordia Publishing House, 2001).

We hope that this history will continue to grow, so please send us your memories, your photos, or your own piece of Guild history. We’ll post them here or to the Guild Notes page to share.


After decades of making modest changes to address the evolving needs of the University and Guild members, the organization approved a new structure in 2006. Led by a volunteer Guild Advisory Team, the new Guild implemented a new board structure, vote-by-mail process, membership recruitment procedures, and many other shifts in organizational culture. Additionally, the Guild, which had reported to the Office of the President, relocated to the Office of Institutional Advancement.

The financial system of the Guild also changed in 2006. From that time forward, all income and expenses would be processed through the University, with no auxiliary accounts at a local or national level. Income received through membership contributions and fundraising proceeds flows into a Guild Endowment Fund, with a portion of all contributions directed toward non-salary operating expenses (less than $39,000 annually).

The Guild Endowment Fund grew to 10 times what it was in 2001, but the fund was negatively impacted by the 2008 recession. At around $400,000, it was far from being where it needed to be to satisfy the contribution the Guild seeks to make to student scholarships and gift grants. Much effort continues to growing membership, encouraging financial support, and giving members service opportunities that raise funds.

Ultimately, the Guild anticipates reaching financial independence by funding its salaries and operating costs through the Guild Endowment Fund and the Norma J. May Guild Encouragers Fund, with the intention to distribute Guild Endowment Fund spending toward philanthropic efforts that support the Guild’s mission.

As expected, some members did not renew their support after the 2006 restructuring. A few members were upset about the transition, and some took this opportunity to exit the Guild. Where the Guild saw its highest membership numbers in the 1960s at 6,000, in 2006 the membership count was around 700. The Guild feels confident that the members who show their support today are truly invested in the best interests of the University. Now that the restructuring transition is complete, the organization is essentially in a rebuilding stage of learning, setting goals, and communicating with its members. The Guild plans to nurture the members who embraced what Valparaiso University was to excite them about what Valparaiso University will be.


The 1980–81 year brought 900 new Guild members and 11 new chapters. Great strides were made by the Chairman for New Chapter Development, Marilyn Krueger, and by an Advisor to New Chapters, Norma May.

In preparation for the Guild’s 50th anniversary, the Guild undertook the 50th Anniversary Project to celebrate God’s goodness to the Guild and to thank Him for His great blessings by sharing project funds with the entire campus community. These first fruits of the Guild’s efforts, $50,000 in total, would be divided among thirty academic departments, with subsequent funds designated toward a project to be determined at the 1981 convention.

The 50th Anniversary Committee chair, Mrs. Fred Froehlich, welcomed everyone to the birthday party, which had been planned and anticipated for two years. Guild members reviewed plans for a Hawaiian trip, a book of Guild history, the Golden Giver Program, and the Pledge Run.

Guild President Barbara Maas presented a celebration card to Betsy Nagel in recognition of her five years as executive director. Calendar profits exceeded $3,000, and proceeds paid for the cost of installing a mural by art professor Joellen Smith into Baldwin Hall and for the purchase of a television monitor for the journalism department.


The year was 1976, and the parable of the tiny mustard seed in Mark’s Gospel formed the theme of President Albert Huegli’s address to the University. “The lesson of the mustard seed for our work is, first, that not the size of the group but its quality counts.” On the occasion of the American bicentennial, President Huegli recalled the quality of the early American leaders and said, “The potential in a mustard seed was the development of Valparaiso University.” He concluded with the words. “Our progress will depend on people, a continuing fellowship of the concerned […] on God’s power at work in us […] if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed.”

Mrs. Norman Nagel informed the Guild that three more books had been added to the historical archives of history — bound convention agendas and two books of past Guild Bulletins. She likened the Guild to “a huge, thick rope, strong because of the strong strands intertwined […] we’ve woven our strengths and ourselves into that rope […] its strength, its growth, depends on our finding new, vital women and letting them weave and plan and pray along with us.”

Guild fundraisers continued to prosper. Mrs. Richard Walsh had the happy task of informing the women that the total profit of cookbook sales to date was $35,000, with fewer than 1,600 books yet to be sold. “Happiness is like potato salad,” she observed in her report; “when you share it with others, it’s a picnic.” Additionally, Mrs. Norman Temme, reporting for chairman Elaine Myers, told the Guild that more than half of 10,000 puzzles had been distributed. (If you have a puzzle, send us a photo! We’ll post it to the website.)


The Guild marked its 40th anniversary at the 1971 convention, themed “I Thank Thee and Praise Thee, O Thou God of My Fathers” (Daniel 2:23). Among the convention highlights, the Guild warmly welcomed its first chapter outside the continental United States. The Hawaii chapter from Honolulu presented a lei of real orchids to the Guild’s president, Mrs. Gene C. Bahls. Chapters also opened in Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Kokomo, Ind.

From a profit of nearly $2,000, the Guild began preparations for directional road signs pointing the way to the Valpo campus. Mrs. T. E. Schuessler, chairman of the Project Committee, proposed that the Guild begin work toward a small lecture hall for the Neils Science Center. But the most important decision of this convention came when Guild members empowered the Activities Committee to prepare, print, and sell a Valparaiso University Cookbook. Mrs. C. C. Rivers was named editor. To date, the proceeds from this project continue to support Valpo students in the form of the Valparaiso University Guild Scholarship Fund.

Rev. Karl Henrichs received a plaque honoring the valuable leadership and long-range vision he provided, which materially helped to bring about the organization of the Valparaiso University Guild. Upon this recognition, he remarked of the Guild, “May it live! May it grow! May it flourish!” Oswald Hoffman of the International Lutheran Hour was the keynote speaker at the banquet and closed his remarks with a beautiful and meaningful recitation of 1 Corinthians 13.

In the April 1971 Guild Bulletin, O.P. Kretzmann wrote of the Guild’s anniversary:
For the past forty years the greatness of the Guild has been the faithful, constant doing of the little things which make up the support of the University. I am sure that it will continue to be so in the years to come. Quietly and tenderly the Guild has provided the atmosphere in which the University can do its work most effectively. It has done this by understanding the problems and opportunities of the school and bringing to bear on its life the constant prayerful interest of women who have understood the tremendous possibilities which especially at the end of forty years now lie before us.
I look out of the window to Heritage Hall. It was at that time still the Library, and as dusk came down over the old campus I began to feel more and more deeply the supporting, lifting hand of the Guild in the development of the entire dream represented by the ancient hall across the way.”



By 1961, the Guild membership had grown to 8,000 in 135 chapters, representing 20 states and the District of Columbia, with contributions totaling more than $914,000 over 30 years.

The 1960–1961 academic year marked the 30th anniversary of the Valparaiso University Guild. In her message appearing in the Guild Bulletin, Guild president Mrs. Frederick D. Schmalz (1960–1963) called upon the Guild to recollect and give thanks to God for the many blessings the Guild had enjoyed over 30 years. All national chapters made special plans to observe the anniversary, with a 30th anniversary convention held September 29 through October 1, 1961, with the theme “Serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

In 1962, Alfred Looman began a Pilot Plan (Student Procurement Plan) by working with 22 Guild chapters, later expanding to all 135 chapters. This successful student recruitment by Guild members laid the foundations for today’s Valpo Admissions Network.

For many years, the Guild had been aware of the rising costs of maintenance of the rapidly expanding University. It had taken an active part in this expansion, particularly in the supplying of funds toward new buildings, but Guild dues, which flowed directly into the current fund of the University, remained the same as they had been for 34 years. To help keep the lights burning in the buildings it had helped to build, the Guild resolved that beginning July 1, 1966, the dues should be “not less than $2.00.”

At this 1966 convention, the 35th anniversary of the Guild, President O.P. Kretzmann described the work of the Guild as “both timely and timeless.” He said, “The Guild has long demonstrated its ability to keep pace with the passing of the years and to meet their new problems as they come. […] It sees the problems of the years in the continuing light of eternity.”

In 1967, the Guild resolved to support the New College of Nursing, which would open its doors in the fall of 1968. All funds raised during the 1967–68 year would be used to support a chair and other expenses in the College of Nursing. Indeed, that year was a year of transition for Valpo; O.P. Kretzmann retired as president, Albert G. Huegli was appointed as acting president, and the International Studies program began with 46 undergraduates participating in Cambridge and Reutlingen.

The Guild ended the decade with a total membership of 7,000 in 142 chapters, representing 26 states and the District of Columbia.


The Guild began the new decade with a membership of 5,800 in 73 chapters, representing 11 states and the District of Columbia. Members of the Valparaiso chapter hosted conventions every fall, and residents of Memorial Hall cheerfully and graciously relinquished their rooms to the convention guests.

The 20th anniversary of the Guild saw the organization's contributions total more than $348,000. For the coming years, the Guild resolved that their next project would be the “physical rehabilitation of the campus as it affects the comfort and the well-being of the student body.”

For many years, the president of the Guild had been privileged to attend the meetings of the Lutheran University Association Board, but in 1951, the LUA board resolved that the president of the Guild was now a voting member of the LUA Board of Directors. That year, the Guild gifted two ping-pong tables to the Guild Hall recreation hall, while the Toledo Chapter presented an RCA radio phonograph in blonde wood, together with musical albums.

The 1951 convention heard an address from Haruko Morishita, a student at the University and a native of Tokyo, Japan. She painted a vivid picture of life in Japan before and during World War II. During the evening of September 29, 1951, convention guests viewed the film Venture of Faith (also known as The Valparaiso Story), which had been produced by the Lutheran Layman’s League. Also present at the screening was Mr. T. G. Eggers, who wrote the story for the film. Among the familiar Valpo sights included in the film were President O. P. Kretzmann himself and veterans of World War II constructing the engineering building.

In time for the 24th Convention of the Guild, their 1952–1955 project was completed: the women of the Guild had raised the money to completely furnish two new dormitories for men, Kreinheder and Dau, which were completed in 1955. The following year, for the Guild’s 25th anniversary, local chapters hosted Silver Anniversary Teas, with almost 100 percent participation. Each chapter received a special recording from the University, which included an address from President Kretzmann on the “Past, Present, and Future of the Valparaiso University Guild.”

At the June 1956 commencement, a former national president of the Guild, Mrs. W. N. Hoppe, became the first woman in history to receive the Lumen Christi medal, the highest honor that Valparaiso University can bestow on an individual.

In 1957, the convention was held in July as a direct result of a fire that destroyed the old University Auditorium. The decorations for the convention in the Great Hall of the Union consisted of a profusion of butterflies and flowers. Mrs. Norman Hannewald directed the Valparaiso Guild Chorus singing “This is Your Life.” Valparaiso University student Gloria Ruprecht of St. Petersburg, Fla., attended the convention as the newly crowned Miss Indiana!

At the 1958 convention, the Gloria Christi Chapel was named to symbolize the work the Guild has done, to the Glory of God and out of love for Christ. In the following year, September 27, 1959, is a memorable day, as the Guild attended the dedication of the Guild Chapel!



On October 6, 1940, O.P. Kretzmann was inaugurated as the 15th president of Valparaiso University. Known for his powerful and poetic style of oratory, Kretzmann began his productive 28-year presidency of Valparaiso University in 1940 with an inspiring inaugural address before a crowd of 2,000 people that set the tone for years to come. “Even in a climate of peril and war,” Kretzmann stated, “the University must continue its twofold task: the search for Truth and the transmission of Truth, free and unbroken.” In the procession, Mrs. W. N. Hoppe represented the Guild, which pledged itself anew to serve the best interests of the University and invoked the blessings of the Almighty upon the new president and his leadership. President Kretzmann first addressed the Guild at its Executive Board meeting on May 2, 1941.

In 1941, the active assistance rendered to the Guild by the Rev. Karl Henrichs concluded, as the administration of the University felt it was essential in this transition year for Rev. Henrichs to devote all of his time to the solicitation of funds. From that point, the University decided, the work of the Guild would be handled by the Guild. The Guild owes Rev. Henrichs much for his self-effacing and unselfish service and loyalty to the Guild. His complete sincerity of purpose, his calm and good-humored approach to every problem, and his splendid cooperative spirit had been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to officers and members alike throughout the first decade.

The first publication of the Guild edition of the Bulletin appeared on October 21, 1940, and was a one-page 8 ½ x 11” mimeographed news sheet. The feature article was a description of President Kretzmann’s inauguration.

The outstanding resolution of the 10th annual convention in 1941 was, of course, the decision to set aside all activity funds contributed during the next five years for the erection of a women’s dormitory. The committee in charge of carrying out this resolution, the Campaign Advisory Committee, consisted of Mrs. W. N. Hoppe, chairman; Miss Louise Nicolay, secretary; Mrs. A. A. Taube; Mrs. Arnold Scherer; Mrs. M.W. Hemmeter; Mrs. E. F. Stegman; Mrs. H. C. Knust; and Mrs. F. C. Proehl. The resolution in its entirety reads as follows:

WHEREAS, Dr. Kretzmann has presented a five year plan to raise $75,000 for the purpose of building a new dormitory for women, and
WHEREAS, The following resolution was passed in April 1937 ‘When times are more favorable the Guild will provide a fund for a new women’s dormitory,’
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT the Guild create a building fund for the erection of a new dormitory for women and the next five years devote the income from activities entirely toward that end. (The income from membership dues goes into the current support fund of the Lutheran University Association.)


On June 10, 1941, the board of directors of the Lutheran University Association resolved that the national president of the Guild be invited to attend all meetings of the LUA Board.

 


In April 1931, Adelaide Kreinheder and Hannah Eberline united 25 women in forming a National Women’s Committee. After meeting with the Valparaiso University board and the National Advisory Board, this group elected Mrs. E. W. Schultz of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as their president. Schultz was an outspoken woman leader in the Missouri Synod and had been an active part of the effort to organize LCMS women before the Synod moved to jettison a National League for Women. Alongside Schultz as president, the women chose Lily Fedder of Hammond, Indiana, as their secretary.

By the fall of 1931, the National Women’s Committee of the Lutheran University Association — later the Women’s Auxiliary of the Lutheran University Association, and eventually the Valparaiso University Guild — included 86 members active in sponsoring university benefits and prospective student parties while serving as ambassadors for the University and its mission. Members formed their first three local chapters in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Detroit, Mich.; and Appleton, Wis. By the end of the decade, more than 40 chapters had been formed across the nation.

In 1932, in their first fundraising project, the National Women’s Committee raised $5,000 for physical education and home economics departments on campus, while also funding a smaller project for new mattresses in Altruria Hall. By the time this group changed its name to the Valparaiso University Guild in 1937, it had continued to support the campus by planting evergreens and acquiring for the library a 22-volume Furness Variorum Edition of Shakespeare. Perhaps most significantly, the Guild had united its members in holding Valpo as a place where bright young Lutherans, particularly women, could find a strong education.

In 1941, the Guild established the Guild Hall Fund, and by the fall of 1947 Guild and Memorial Halls were ready for residents.