President's Recognition Dinner Remarks  09/26/09

Thank you. Please join me in another round of applause for  John Clinton and the Shippensburg University Foundation staff for their work in making tonight's event so wonderful.

Good evening everyone and thank you again for joining us tonight. I want to personally take this moment to thank each of you for your friendship and support for Shippensburg University. The opportunity to spend time with you tonight is a privilege and it reminds me of how lucky I am to serve you. Thank you for giving me this privilege.

Many of you have told me that you share my gratitude in being associated with this great University. I believe I speak for everyone at SHIP in saying that words cannot adequately express how much we appreciate your generous contributions of time, talent, and treasure, particularly in this difficult economy.

Recently the media has been discussing concerns about an increasing lack of civility in our nation. While it is probably wise to leave the psychological and political analysis of what is prompting such behavior to experts like those faculty teaching in SHIP's in psychology, political science, and social work departments, it seems this behavior is partly attributed to stresses caused by our rapidly changing global society and its affect on how we view the world.

Not only do we continue facing challenges in our own community and country, but we also face new challenges brought about by changes in the world, changes that occur at an ever increasing pace when our own time and resources seem already stretched to their limits. Simply stated, it seems that we are trying to do too much, with too little and we lose focus of what makes us happy. Sometimes we have to take a minute out of our busy lives to reflect on things that do make us happy, things that allow us to refocus.

At these times it helps to think of what Helen Keller said: "Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

With that in mind, if we look around the room tonight and think about how each person here took the time out of his or her busy schedule to support SHIP, we might think about how we all find supporting SHIP a worthy purpose, one that brings us happiness.

So many of you have shared with me how much pleasure you get supporting SHIP. You have said that you love helping students succeed and that you believe supporting higher education is the best way to secure our future. Many of you said that providing support to SHIP students is a worthy purpose because you can see the difference your support makes. The examples of how your support helps make a difference are endless, but recognizing our time is limited, let me discuss just a few of those.

Some of you may know or have heard about how your scholarship funds helped Tonya Valentine who graduated from SHIP last May with a degree in psychology and a minor in gerontology. In her senior year, Tonya received the Benjamin S. Nispel Scholarship, funded with your support. Your financial support allowed Tonya to participate in some joint undergraduate student faculty research projects that led her and a fellow student researcher to win the Regional Research Award in 2008 from the Eastern Psychology Association.

Your annual funds not only provided research support, but also they helped pay for the software Tonya needed to analyze research data, the materials Tonya needed for her presentation, and the expenses of attending the conference where Tonya made her presentation-and won her award! More importantly, your annual contributions paved the way for Tonya to attend graduate school and expand her career opportunities. Tonya's SHIP educational experience was indelibly shaped by these experiences, her internship opportunities, and the highly skilled faculty who guided her toward a master's degree program in clinical mental health counseling at SHIP.

Your support doesn't stop with students like Tonya, who is just one of many who benefit from your generosity. Your support also enables our faculty to continuing learning, enhancing their knowledge and skills and enabling them to be on the forefront of knowledge--knowledge they impart to SHIP students.

Your generous support also built the region's premier cultural arts facility, the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. Since opening in 2006 visitors from the region and neighboring states attend events at this Center, all of whom describe this Center as a gorgeous facility that hosts some of the best entertainment. Visitors to the Center are not the only ones who sing its praises. In this respect many of you have probably heard the Performers comment on the Center's wonderful acoustics and most gracious guests!

Your support is vital to the success of Shippensburg University and we simply cannot thank you and the Shippensburg University Foundation enough.

I would like to take this moment to thank SHIP alumni Gary and Mary Jo Grove for their two-years of service as National Annual Fund co-chairs. Their dedication to - and love of - their alma mater embodies the true spirit of the SHIP family. Gary and Mary Jo also take every opportunity to acknowledge the help they received of so many volunteers and at this time I would also like to thank those volunteers for their tireless efforts.

Gary and Mary Jo set a high standard for their successors, Don and Joann Smith, 1975 graduates of SHIP. Don and Joann will spend the next two years as national co-chairs of the Annual Fund and we know that like Gary and Mary Jo, they will use their SHIP spirit to ensure the continued success of the SHIP Foundation's fund-raising efforts.

I would like to thank the SU Foundation's Board of Directors, and congratulate Joel Zullinger on completing his first year as Chair of that Board. The wisdom, insight, and commitment of this Board helps the SHIPPENSBURG UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION maintain its position as the best in the State System and one of the best in the region. Thank you for your support.

John Clinton, CEO and President of the Foundation, and his professional staff, assisted by these volunteers, are critical to our success. In these challenging economic times, it is John's hard work and that of others in the Foundation under his leadership that provides us with the resources necessary to support SHIP students and faculty.

The Foundation's work on behalf of the University and, in partnership with the University's dedicated Council of Trustees, continues to keep SHIP ranked one of the best regional comprehensive universities in the North and, as I frequently say, the flagship of the State System.

One of the many areas of the Foundation's success was its recent ANNUAL FUND CAMPAIGN. This Campaign is the backbone of the Foundation's fund-raising efforts and, as in past years, it was a huge success. During the 2008-2009 Campaign, the Foundation raised just over $2 million, slightly more than in the previous year, which is a major accomplishment in this economic climate.



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