Shipley parks self in midst of Shepherdstown matters

October 25, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. ? She's known for her experience in master's-degree programs, and when she was vice president for academic affairs at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, she worked on major initiatives like international programs and global learning.

But guess what issue Suzanne Shipley has been saddled with many times since becoming president at Shepherd University?


Local residents sometimes express frustration over dealing with Shepherd and its large presence in town and Shipley said the ever-existent issue of how to deal with parking for thousands of students has been mentioned often in her conversations with local people.

Shipley jokes about dinner parties she has been to and how the get-togethers lead to desert.

"At which time, the conversation turns to parking," Shipley said.

But Shipley said she is sensitive to the needs of the small community of Shepherdstown and she illustrates that by the long conversations she has had with Mayor Lance Dom and her willingness to rule with an iron hand if something needs to be done for the town.


As an example, Shipley referred to complaints she received about a repetitive, obnoxious, recording of a bird in distress that was playing at McMurran Hall.

The building has been undergoing extensive exterior renovations and the recording was meant to keep pigeons away from the work.

"I told them to get that out of there," Shipley said.

Shipley, who started her job as the 15th president of Shepherd University in July, will be inaugurated during three days of ceremonies that start today.

The activities include a community service project for the Shepherdstown Fire Department, a faculty art show, a pregame hospitality reception at the midway at Saturday's football game and German poetry, song and chamber music Saturday night in honor of Shipley's study of German.

The inauguration will take place at 3 p.m. Friday in the Frank Center Theater, and Shipley is expected to give an address titled "Create the Future: A Celebration of Shepherd University."

Shipley said she is struck by the "enormous enthusiasm" and the creative energy on the campus, which she belives can fill a unique niche for the needs of the Eastern Panhandle and beyond.

Shipley said Shepherd is blessed with outstanding creative programs like a nationally recognized music program, The Contemporary American Theater Festival and a new art center under construction.

The creative energy that spins out from those types of efforts also permeates other programs like nursing and business, allowing Shepherd to formulate "concepts that might not exist yet," Shipley said in an interview Wednesday.

And that can act not only as an educational resource, but as an economic resource as the school reaches out to the needs of the community, like small businesses, Shipley said.

In today's business world, "it's all about creativity," said Shipley, who said she plans to touch on some of those points during her speech Friday.

As for the community in general, Shipley said she had no idea that Shepherdstown was as dynamic as it is. Shipley said she and her husband, Randall Wadsworth, have enjoyed taking in local attractions like going to the Shepherdstown farmers market on Sundays, shopping in Hagerstown and visiting local attractions like the Woods Resort and Conference Center near Hedgesville, W.Va.

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