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Dr. Kimberly Bright Scholarship


Dr. BrightThis scholarship is being offered in memory of Dr. Kimberly Bright, an outstanding educator and administrator who was a leader in the field of special education in central Pennsylvania for three decades. As a tireless advocate for people of all ages who have special needs, Dr. Bright distinguished herself as a classroom teacher, as a director of special education, as an associate professor of special education, as a published author, as a leader in the Council for Exceptional Children, and as a highly regarded speaker at local, state, and national academic conferences. With this scholarship, her family, friends, and colleagues hope to inspire the next generation of teachers to follow in her footsteps and seek ways to support and strengthen the field of special education. 

About Dr. Kimberly Bright:

Dr. Kimberly (Kim) Bright was born June 26, 1957 in West Reading, the daughter of Gerald and Patricia R (Upczak) Bright.  She was a graduate of Governor Mifflin High School and Millersville University.  She earned a Master’s degree from Shippensburg University and a Ph.D. in Special Education from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bright was an Associate Professor of Special Education at Shippensburg University from 2002 until the time of her death on June 30, 2010. 

Dr. Bright began her career as a teacher of students with mild to severe mental retardation and learning disabilities and within five years became the Director of Special Education in the East Pennsboro Area School District in Enola, Pennsylvania. While at East Pennsboro, Dr. Bright transformed the Special Education Department to make sure every student in the district had the teachers, services, and resources needed to live, learn, and grow to the best of their abilities. She did this during the unchartered time when federal and state standards for special education for each child were being implemented. Under her guidance, East Pennsboro earned a reputation as a school district with an outstanding special education department and parents with special needs students moved into the district specifically because of this reputation.  Dr. Bright also took over leadership of the Gifted Support program and made sure that the district’s brightest students had the tools and opportunities they needed to excel and succeed.  

Dr. Bright utilized her extensive experience, strong expertise, and outstanding writing skills to co-author a textbook titled The Special Education Administrator’s Handbook (2007) Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA, which is used in collegiate special education programs across the nation. 

One important indication of Dr. Bright’s influence in the field of education is that she was considered a mentor by many of the area’s best teachers.  While Dr. Bright had genuine compassion for special needs students, she also helped regular education teachers differentiate their teaching so that all students could benefit. As an associate professor at Shippensburg University, Dr. Bright enjoyed supervising student teachers and inspired her students to give their best efforts to the teaching profession.  Always willing to take on academic responsibilities in her department, she served the University as a member of the Honors Program Steering Committee, the University Forum, College of Education Teacher Education Council, Special Education Committee (Chair), Undergraduate Grade Appeals Committee, Department Curriculum Committee and Promotions Committee.  

As a strong advocate for teaching and improving the skills of college students who chose teaching as their profession, Dr. Bright believed that beyond academic knowledge, it was important that the aspiring teacher use common sense, be confident, and demonstrate mutual respect. Not surprisingly, Dr. Bright felt this attitude was critically important to apply to disabled or challenged students. Ideally, the recipient of this scholarship then is one who can grow to be a compassionate, humble advocate in their teaching students with disabilities.

Dr. Bright was known as a generous individual, both with her time and resources. As a student at Penn State University, Dr. Bright also received a scholarship to assist with her studies. As the recipient of the Dr. Kimberly Bright Memorial Scholarship, please continue her passion by becoming a committed and respected educator while also being an advocate for students with special needs. “Paying it forward” would be the highest tribute the recipient could make in keeping Dr. Bright’s legacy alive.

Selection Criteria:

Applicants of this scholarship must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Recipients must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program administered by Shippensburg University’s Special Education Program.
  •  Undergraduate recipients must have satisfactorily completed appropriate credits to be considered a Junior starting their first semester to qualify for this scholarship. Graduate students will have completed at least one semester of coursework.
  • Recipients must have a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average. 
  • In the opinion of the Department, the recipients should demonstrate good character and citizenship.

This scholarship will be awarded without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, or disability.


This scholarship may be retained for up to two (2) consecutive academic years provided the recipient meets the following requirements:

  • Enrollment as a full-time undergraduate student, completing a minimum of twelve (12) credits per semester or be a graduate student enrolled in a degree program.
  • A 3.0 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at the end of each semester.  If a recipient fails to maintain the required grade point average, he/she will be notified by the Shippensburg University Scholarship Committee. Failure to regain the required grade point average after one (1) academic semester will result in the loss of the scholarship. Graduate students should be deemed to be making adequate progress in their program and also maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

In accepting this scholarship the student will allow Shippensburg University and the Shippensburg University Foundation to publicize his/her receiving the scholarship and will make every effort to attend the annual scholarship dinner.  

Selection Process

  1. The Shippensburg University Scholarship Committee and a three-member committee of faculty appointed by the chair of the Educational Leadership and Special Education Department will be responsible for the selection of recipients of this scholarship. Students with a disability will be given special consideration if potential recipients equally meet the above criteria.
  2. At the request of the Shippensburg University Scholarship Committee, the Director of Social Equity (or designee) will review records of a recommended candidate if they are a student with a disability.
  3. Upon selection of the appropriate recipient(s), the Director of Financial Aid will make a request, on behalf of the University Scholarship Committee, to the Shippensburg University Foundation to issue payment for semesters II, and I in December and May respectively.  All checks will be made payable jointly to Shippensburg University and the recipient.


More About Dr. Bright's Legacy:

Dr. George Schmidt with "Bright" - The Service dog named after Dr. Kim Bright.
Bright Service Dog

Bright has graduated and is serving others as Dr. Kimberly Bright did with kindness, knowledge, respect and her beauty inside and out.

Bright Graduation

Contact the Educational Leadership & Special Education Department Shippen Hall 127, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1591 Fax: (717) 477-4036