SU commencement speakers announced

An alumnus and the retired president and CEO of the Shippensburg University Foundation will speak during Shippensburg University’s commencement programs.

SuarezArtCarlos Suarez '97M, the state conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California, will present the address at the master’s degree ceremony at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15, in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. John Clinton will deliver his speech during the undergraduate degree ceremony at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, in Heiges Field House.

Suarez is the lead post-hurricane assistance coordinator to Puerto Rico under the USDA Secretary. As the head liaison between USDA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he provides multi-faceted assistance to the island on issues such as erosion control, watershed restoration, rural development, disaster assistance to farmers, nutrition, and water for children and mothers. 

In his position as state conservationist, Suarez oversees conservation assistance to farmers, ranchers, and private foresters helping them protect air and water quality, conserve water, improve soil and forest health, and pollinator and wildlife habitat. Additionally, he assists producers following disasters like the recent wildfires near Napa and Sonoma. 

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Suarez holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Mechanization (Engineering) Technology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, a Master of Science in Geoenvironmental Studies from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Leadership from American University in Washington, D.C. 

John Clinton retired in the fall of 2017 after thirty-four years as president and CEO of the Shippensburg University Foundation. During his tenure, the SU Foundation grew from $1 million to over $88 million in total assets. 

Under his leadership, the SU Foundation led all Pennsylvania State System universities in almost all fundraising categories, and was frequently nationally ranked in the top three percent among all Masters Level II Clinton Artpublic universities.

Through charitable gifts raised by the SU Foundation, he played an important role in the enhancement and construction of a number of university facilities including Old Main, Shippen Hall, John L. Grove Hall, Math and Computing Technologies Center, H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center and soon Stewart Hall.  Over 900 students are now receiving scholarships through the generosity of benefactors to the SU Foundation.  Nearly 400 scholarship endowments have been established.

Prior to serving the SU Foundation, Clinton was the Assistant Annual Fund Director at Ball State University where the Annual Fund received CASE’s Performance and Sustained Excellence U.S. Steel Annual Fund Awards. He served his alma mater, Cumberland College, as Director of Alumni Affairs.  Mr. Clinton holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Cumberland College and an M.A.Ed from Union College.

This year, the School of Graduate Studies will award approximately 119 degrees. About 291 degrees will be awarded to undergraduate students. Tickets are not needed to attend either ceremony.

For the graduate ceremony, doors to the Luhrs Center will open at 6:00 p.m. and guests should be seated by 6:45 p.m. For the undergraduate ceremony, guests may enter the field house arena beginning at 9 a.m. and should be seated by 10:30 a.m.

Guests unable to climb stairs and sit on bleachers should email by Dec. 8 for parking and reserved seating. In case of inclement weather, individuals may call Hotline, a recorded messaging system, at (717) 477-1200 or visit the University’s website, and the University’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for information about Commencement.