Alumni to present commencement addresses at Shippensburg University

 Two alumni will present the commencement addresses during Shippensburg University’s Winter Commencement programs. 

David Christopher, superintendent of the Juniata Valley School District in Alexandria, will present the address at the master’s degree ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. Dr. William E. Klunk, professor of psychiatry and neurology and co-director of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, will present the address during the undergraduate degree ceremony at 11 a.m. Dec. 15 in Heiges Field House. Klunk will also receive an honorary doctor of science degree from the university. 

Approximately 130 students are expected to participate in the master’s program and about 400 in the undergraduate program. No tickets are needed for either program. In case of inclement weather for either program, individuals may call Hotline, a recorded messaging system, at 477-1200 or go to the university’s website at for updates. 

Guests at the Dec. 14 program are asked to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. The program will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and last about two hours. 

Guests at the undergraduate program may enter the field house arena beginning at 9 a.m. and are asked to be in their seats by 10:30 a.m. The academic procession will form at 10:45 a.m. and start promptly at 11 a.m. The ceremony is expected to take less than two hours.  

Christochristopherpher, superintendent at Juniata Valley since May, 2012, received his master’s degree in educational leadership from Shippensburg in 2008 and subsequently earned both his K-12 principal certificate and his superintendent’s letter of eligibility from Shippensburg. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Student Award from the university’s Department of Educational Leadership and Special Education.   

He previously served in various academic posts including as an elementary principal, high school principal and director of curriculum, and acting superintendent. Since his arrival at Juniata Valley, the district has flourished despite the difficult economic times and challenges faced by public schools in Pennsylvania. In 2012, the high school was listed as a U.S. News and World Reports Bronze Award winning school because of the performance of the students. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Huntingdon County United Way and is the chair of its Strategic Planning Committee.   

klunk Klunk, a 1978 graduate of Shippensburg, is internationally known for his research into Alzheimer’s disease. He completed an MD/PhD degree at Washington University in St. Louis focusing on neuropharmacology and medicinal chemistry. He then completed a general psychiatry residency at Pitt, followed by a fellowship in geriatric neuropsychopharmacology at Pitt. He also serves as vice-chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the National Alzheimer’s Association.   

He is a prolific author with more than 175 journal articles and book chapters and is principal investigator of several National Institutes of Health and Foundation grants and has received a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging. He is a pioneer in the field of in vivo amyloid imaging for Alzheimer’s disease. His work spans from basic synthetic chemistry and neuropharmacological evaluation of amyloid imaging tracers to human PET studies of these tracers. His group’s 2004 paper was cited by Nature Medicine as the most highly cited research paper on Alzheimer’s disease published since 2004.   

He shared the 2004 MetLife Foundation Award, the 2008 Potamkin Prize and the 2009 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute Awards for research in Alzheimer’s disease with his colleague, Chet Mathis. 

Information about both programs is available at Anyone with questions about the undergraduate commencement may call Dr. Peter M. Gigliotti, Commencement Committee co-chair, at 477-12-21202 or send e-mail to Anyone with questions about the graduate ceremony may send e-mail to Brian Johnson, at