From left: Wendy McCrory Rotz, SU Alumni Association president; Jen Tofts, Joyce Scott Parker, Robert Ward, and President Bill Ruud.

University presents awards at annual event

A series of awards was presented recently as part of Shippensburg University's annual Alumni Days. The awards, presented by the SU Alumni Association, included the Exceptional Service Award, the Humanitarian Award and the Alumni Chapter Award.

Recipients of the Exceptional Service Award are Bill Minsker ’68-’73M and Robert Ward ’77. The annual award from the association is presented to an individual or individuals who through personal effort or involvement have helped the university in a significant and exemplary way. It is the highest volunteer recognition presented by the association.

Minsker, of Linglestown has been a steadfast volunteer at and vocal advocate for the university. He regularly participates with the Admissions Office volunteering at open house events on campus, as well as working at regional high school fairs. He helped coordinate and schedule visits to educational institutions in Poland which helped result in the recent signing of an agreement to begin an exchange program between Shippensburg and the Wroclaw University of Economics.

Minsker volunteers with the Southcentral Pennsylvania Alumni Chapter, attends many regional events and has hosted incoming first-year students and their parents in his home as part of the Freshman Welcome Program. He spends half of the year in Pennsylvania and the other half in Wroclaw where he teaches English at the university.

Ward, of Wilmington, Del., is an avid supporter of the university, in particular the John K. Grove College of Business. During the years, he has shared his professional experience and insights with students in such programs as the Business Career Expo and the Alpha Kappa Psi Etiquette for Success program. He is a member of the college's advisory board and has provided funds for scholarships. He is director of operations at the Delaware Valley Service Center of Computer Aid Inc.

The Alumni Humanitarian Award was presented posthumously to John W. Scott. The award was established in 2003 to honor both an alumnus and a member of the campus community in recognition of his or her direct impact on diversity and cultural experiences of students on campus. Recipients exemplify a commitment to the growth of human understanding, beyond any professional responsibilities, and freely give of their time and effort to support the academic success and retention of multicultural students at Shippensburg University. Receiving the award on his behalf was his sister, Joyce Scott Parker.

Scott, a 1960 graduate, was one of the best basketball players to ever play for Shippensburg and was inducted into the university's athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. After graduation, he taught at Chambersburg High School (where he was the first African American to teach there), in Colombia as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and at Cheyney University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Uruguay during the 1966-67 academic year. He also served as director of bilingual/bicultural growth for the Harrisburg School District and retired from there as the district's director of English as a Second Language. He died in February, 2008.

The Alumni Chapter Award was presented to Jen Tofts of Haddon Heights, N.J. It is given to an alumnus in recognition of his or her direct impact on the success of a particular alumni chapter and its goal to help reconnect alumni with the university as members of active networks within the Shippensburg family.

Tofts, a 1996 graduate, has been an integral member of the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter Planning Committee since its inception in 2002 and has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2005 to 2009. She is a fourth grade teacher in the Bellmawr School District. According to the nomination form, she is a vocal advocate for the association and an avid participant in its events. She has also served as a alumni admissions representative at college fairs and recruitment events in the New Jersey and Philadelphia regions. In addition, every summer she invites first-year Shippensburg students from her area to her home as part of the Freshman Welcome Program.