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Ship class told to sail

December 14, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Guest speaker Jerome Dean of the class of 1982 gave some closing advice Saturday to the 2008 graduates of Shippensburg University.

"Don't keep your Ship docked," Dean said. "Sail your Ship, class of 2008."

After years of work to complete one journey, the class of 464 undergraduates is preparing for the next, on which they now set sail after receiving their degrees during winter commencement in front of more than 2,000 proud friends and family members at Heiges Field House.

For some, the next journey is one in a long line.

Davina Wieczorek, 37, of Chambersburg, Pa., returned to school in the fall of 2005 and received her bachelor's degree in elementary education three years later.

"It's sort of surreal. It hasn't really sunk in yet, but it's exciting," Wieczorek said. "It's been fun."

Wieczorek said she always wanted to be a teacher, but that career was postponed because she served in the military. With her GI Bill set to expire, she decided to use it to go back to school.

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Shippensburg was the obvious choice, and not just because of its proximity to her Chambersburg home, which she settled into six years ago after her military service.

"It was nice that I could commute," she said. "But I'm also a third-generation here at Ship. My grandfather and uncle went here."

While Wieczorek was a third-generation graduate, Jeff Sprecher went through his third graduation.

Sprecher, 22, of Chewsville, participated in his third commencement ceremony to receive his bachelor's degree in supply chain management.

"I did it in high school (at Smithsburg), at (Hagerstown Community College) and now here," Sprecher said. "It's still exciting."

Sprecher said he will be in the job market, where he hopes to land a contracting job.

"It feels like getting out of high school again because I'm getting ready to start something new," he said.

Sprecher graduated from HCC in the spring of 2007, came to Shippensburg the following fall and received his degree Saturday, one semester early.

"I had fun, but I'm glad to have it over with," he said.

Dean spoke for about 20 minutes, emphasizing S.H.I.P. (Service, Happiness, Integrity, Perseverance) - to the class of 2008.

"Be creator of your own happiness," he said. "And learn to pick your battles."

Dean is a special agent for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He received his bachelor's degree in accounting from Shippensburg in December 1982 and received his master's degree in general and strategic management from Temple University in 2000.

Still, he said, "sometimes, you have to let your hair down."

The class of 2008 should have no problem doing that, at least for now.

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