Valparaiso University, 1700 Chapel Drive, was founded in 1859 as the Valparaiso Male and Female College, by the Northwest (M.E.) Conference. Prominent leaders Benjamin Winans and John L. Smith were influential in organizing the school, which was to "supply the educational wants of the Church and the people of the North Western portion of the Conference." It was one of the earliest coeducational schools in the nation.
As the only institute of Indiana Methodism north of the Kankakee River, the school was immediately popular, particularly with girls and young women. Three hundred students followed a curriculum which included "physical training and a normal department for the thorough preparation of teachers."
However, with the rise of state-supported schools, the College lost its advantage. Reverses caused by the Civil War forced the conference to drop its sponsorship in 1871.
Since 1925, the university has been operated by the Lutheran University Association, affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. Despite some difficult times, it has grown and blossomed into a major private institution of Christian learning in the Midwest.
The center of the present-day campus is dominated by the towering Chapel of the Resurrection, completed in 1959. Although the connection with the United Methodist Church is mostly historical, the campus and the chapel are well worth a visit.
GPS at the chapel: 41 27 47.32, -87 02 27.24