Office of the President
Dear University Community:
We have so much to be proud of here at Shippensburg University. During our nearly 150 years of service to the Commonwealth and our students, we have done exceedingly well, always moving forward—evolving and adapting to an ever-changing world. For the past two decades, my wife Leslie and I have
enjoyed the opportunity to share in that progress as part of the Ship family—serving in whatever capacity we could to help the University succeed. Through every challenge and every opportunity, Ship has emerged strong and united, and of that I am very proud.
It is with a heavy heart I share with you that Leslie and I have made the difficult decision to announce my retirement effective January 20, 2017. Important family health matters have arisen that require our attention, and so we must do what is best for both ourselves and the University.
While I will be sad to leave at this point in my tenure, I will do so confident in the fact that the University will continue to thrive. So much has been accomplished already, and even greater successes are on the horizon.
In the past few years, we have enhanced our academic offerings by adding a number of new programs in high-demand fields, including the first electrical engineering degree in the State System and our first two doctoral programs. We have expanded STEM offerings, and have become a participant in
STEM-UP—a National Science Foundation funded program that seeks to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement of female faculty in science, technology, engineering, and math.
For years, the John L. Grove College of Business has been a standard bearer for the university, collecting a wide array of prestigious, national honors. Today, it doesn’t stand alone. Many more of our academic departments and programs have earned national accreditations
and international recognition.
In November, Ship was named a “Military Friendly School” in recognition of the many services and opportunities we provide both veterans and active military students. We have been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in recognition of the enormous efforts
of our students and employees who volunteer their time willingly and frequently to community service projects throughout the year.
We have forged significant partnerships with the business community throughout the region, helping to nurture and improve economic, entrepreneurial, and workforce development in our part of Pennsylvania. Relationships with our local, state and national elected officials have never been
stronger. Our alumni continue to engage with us in greater numbers and to advocate for their alma mater more directly than ever.
Our recently concluded comprehensive campaign, “Charting the Course, Lighting the Way: The Campaign for Shippensburg University," was the most successful in University history and among the most successful campaigns in the State System. The results will mean a significant
increase in student scholarships, the restoration of Stewart Hall, and many other much-needed additions and enhancements for our campus.
All of these successes, combined with the hard work and innovative activities of our restructured admissions effort, have helped stabilize enrollment during these especially challenging times. The overall financial health of our university has improved, which will help ensure that we will be around for another 150
years to serve our students, our community, the region, and the state.
None of this could have been possible without the tireless contributions of so many of you and the dedication of those who laid the groundwork before us for our successes. The future of Ship is very bright because it is tethered to the greatness of our students, faculty, staff,
administrators, alumni, Council of Trustees, University Foundation, and our many friends. You are the heartbeat of this university. You are its future.
My friends, it has been an honor and privilege to be part of this very special place. While I will soon depart my official capacity here, please know that my heart remains. Leslie and I thank you for your continued love and support and look forward to watching Ship continue to achieve success.
George F. “Jody” Harpster, Ph.D.