Shepherd names first woman president

February 19, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM


A candidate with a strong liberal arts background and a focus on students was named Monday as the 15th president of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Suzanne Shipley, the first woman in the college's history to hold the position, will begin in July.

She currently serves as vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Shipley succeeds David Dunlop, who announced his retirement in September 2006 after serving as president for 11 years.

"I can't think of a better person to give the gavel to," Dunlop said. "She's going to be exactly the right person to lead us."


Her experience with master's degree programs was mentioned as a reason that she was chosen to lead Shepherd. John Sherwood, chair of the Board of Governors and the presidential search committee, said the university is looking to possibly expand on the five master's programs it offers.

Shipley said that is an area she would like to strengthen at Shepherd.

Expanding opportunities to nontraditional students, fundraising and growing the university's reputation in the community and beyond are among her goals.

Officials at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland said Shipley worked on a number of major initiatives there, including international programs and global learning, faculty research, accelerated programs, the first-ever Ph.D. and the proposed school of pharmacy, according to the college's Web site.

When asked why she applied for the job at Shepherd, Shipley quickly responded that the main draw was the students. Some students at the announcement Monday said Shipley was the most personable of the applicants they met.

More than 120 were considered for the position. Four, including Shipley, were interviewed at Shepherd last week by faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

"She's very student-oriented," said Adin Ray, a 19-year-old Shepherd student. "I feel like she would listen and process what we say when taking action."

Joshua Riese, a 23-year-old Shepherd student, said he was hopeful that Shipley's background, particularly in liberal arts and foreign languages, would benefit the university.

Shipley has a Ph.D. in German from the University of Texas and master's and bachelor's degrees in German from Texas Tech University. She was head of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Cincinnati, where she also was a full professor and served as director of the University Honors Program.

Riese said he would like to see improvement in the university's foreign languages department and also some additional programs, particularly philosophy.

"I'm very enthusiastic," Riese said. "Nobody I've talked to has had a negative thing to say about (Shipley)."

Before going to the College of Notre Dame of Maryland ? a four-year liberal arts college in Baltimore ? Shipley was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northern Arizona University.

She spent one year at Arizona State University as an American Council on Education Fellow.

"Dr. Shipley was the overwhelming favorite of every single constituent group," Sherwood said. "We are delighted that she has accepted our invitation to lead Shepherd into the future."

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