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Office of the President

Dr. Jody Harpster

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Dr. George F. “Jody” Harpster Jr. has been named sixteenth president of Shippensburg University. He previously served two terms as interim president of the university. He first served in that capacity upon the retirement of then-President Anthony F. Ceddia in June 2005 and held the post until the appointment of President Bill Ruud in early 2007. He again took the position when Ruud left in May 2013.

A native of Tyrone, Pa., Dr. Harpster earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Juniata College in 1972, his master's degree in counseling and college student personnel administration from Shippensburg in 1974, and his Ph.D. in adult and higher education with emphasis on organizational development and small group studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984.  

He began his academic career in student affairs while attending Shippensburg as a graduate student from 1972 to 1974. He then moved to North Carolina to continue his studies and where he served in various student affairs posts at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Those roles included area director and manager of summer conference housing, associate director of housing for residence life, director of housing, director of student life and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, and dean of students and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. 

He rejoined Shippensburg in 1995 as vice president for student affairs, a post he held for ten years before being named interim president. He was later named executive vice president and then executive vice president for external affairs and university relations. 

He serves or has served on numerous committees at Shippensburg as well as being involved in the former Duquesne-Shippensburg doctoral program in educational leadership, where he served as a member of multiple doctoral dissertation committees. 

He has written on higher education-related topics and given numerous presentations to professional organizations at the state, regional, and national levels.  

Dr. Harpster is a member of various professional organizations including the American College Personnel Association, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, CUPRAP: The Association of Communicators in Education, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He also is a member of numerous honor societies including Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

He is active in the community and is a member of various organizations including Franklin County Women-In-Need Capital Campaign Steering Committee, Franklin County Friends of Legal Services Fundraising Committee, South-central Pennsylvania Regional Action Plan Steering Committee, Harrisburg Area Transportation Study Group Technical Committee, Shippensburg Public Library Capital Campaign Steering Committee, Shippensburg Area Small Business Development Center Organizing Group, and Boy Scouts of America Frontier District Leadership Council. 

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Shippensburg University Multicultural Student Affairs Recognizing the Effort Award, Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce Common Ground Award, Shippensburg University Martin Luther King Dream Award, Tyrone Area High School Distinguished Alumnus Award, Shippensburg University Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award, and the American College Personnel Association Outstanding State Division Leader Award.