Shippensburg University president inaugurated

October 27, 2007|By DON AINES

SHIPPENSBURG, PA. - More than 20 years ago, two college administrators at the University of Toledo made a bet that the first one named a college president would hire the other.

Gerald Jakubowski made it first, becoming president of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., but he said his longtime friend, William N. Ruud, "turned me down" when offered a job.

That worked out for Ruud, who has been at the helm of Shippensburg University since February. Amid the pomp and circumstance of such events, Ruud's inauguration as the university's 15th president took place Friday in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center.

Ruud told the faculty, staff, alumni, students and guests that he entered college in 1970.

"Thirty-seven years later, I'm still in college" and still enjoying it, said Ruud, who had been a management professor and vice president at California State University, Stanislau.


College and the world have changed a lot in nearly four decades, Ruud said, noting that 1.6 million students received college degrees in the United States in 2006. However, that ranks behind the 3.1 million diplomas awarded in India last year and the 3.3 million that went to students in China, an indicator of the importance other countries are placing on post-secondary education, he said.

Looking ahead five years, Ruud said he hopes to see a university with increased enrollment, new programs, major capital improvements and greater diversity in the student body. He thanked predecessors Anthony Ceddia, who was president from 1981 to 2005, and Executive Vice President G.F. "Jody" Harpster for handing over an educationally and financially sound institution.

"The need for a college education is more important than it has ever been before," said Jakubowski, the guest speaker. The same percentage of Americans get college degrees as did 20 years ago, but the nation has slipped from first to 10th in the world in that category, he said.

College graduates will make an average of 62 percent more income than a high school graduate, Jakubowski said.

Ruud, named president in January by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's Board of Governors, takes over an institution created in 1871 as the Cumberland Valley Normal School. The university now has nearly 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students, according to the State System of Higher Education.

"As president, I get a lot of advice," Ruud said, some it from students at the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School.

"They reminded me to brush my teeth and be humble," the new president said.

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