Shepherd University is a state-supported institution within the West Virginia system of higher education. From its beginnings over 130 years ago, the University has evolved into a comprehensive center of higher learning, serving a number of related, yet distinct roles:
The University offers baccalaureate degrees in a wide range of fields, encompassing the liberal arts, business administration, teacher education, the social and natural sciences, and other career-oriented areas. The University provides credit courses for individuals that may not be seeking a specific degree, but who seek to broaden and update their knowledge in either familiar or new fields of intellectual endeavor. For the northern Shenandoah Valley region as a whole, the University is a center for noncredit continuing education, public service, and convenient citizen access to extensive programs in art, music, theater, athletics, and other areas of public interest. Shepherd University has a responsibility to extend its resources beyond the campus, bringing higher education closer to those who seek it.
Mission Statement and Statement of Core Values
Shepherd University, a West Virginia public liberal arts university, is a diverse community of learners and a gateway to the world of opportunities and ideas. We are the regional center for academic, cultural, and economic opportunity. Our mission of service succeeds because we are dedicated to our core values: learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community.
Committed to excellence, Shepherd University embraces the following five core values:
Shepherd University creates a community of learners who integrate teaching, scholarship, and learning into their lives. In order to create challenging, relevant experiences, inside and outside of the classroom, the University continually evaluates and assesses student learning. We recognize and accommodate diverse learning styles and perspectives necessary for global understanding.
Shepherd University fosters environments in which students, faculty, staff, and members of the community engage with each other to form mutually beneficial relationships. We believe that meaningful engagement, with ideas and with people, promotes deep learning and nurtures critical thought.
Shepherd University strives for an environment of honesty and fairness in its actions. University officials seek input from students, faculty, and staff and make informed and objective decisions. We expect all members of the community to act in accordance with this value.
Shepherd University provides services to all qualified students. Our staff and faculty are available to students and are committed to respecting and meeting individual needs. University governance and budgeting structures reflect our commitment to transparent processes and public access to information.
CommunityShepherd University comprises a community that includes students, faculty, staff, alumni, and involved citizens. We meet the needs of this community through assessment, development, and implementation of innovative programs and initiatives. We strive to create a safe environment based on mutual respect and acceptance of differences.
Scenic and Historic Location
Shepherd University is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, on the banks of the Potomac River, in historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The oldest town in the state, Shepherdstown is a quaint university community, with the town and campus combining to offer a unique learning-living environment. Located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, Shepherdstown is within 20 miles of nearby Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It is only 65 miles from the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.
Within a short hike or drive of the campus are such well-known historic landmarks as Harpers Ferry and the Antietam Battlefield. Across the Potomac River from the campus is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The C & O Canal National Historical Park, developed along the towpath of the old canal, is a beautiful recreational sanctuary, extending 184.5 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown, in the nation’s capital. Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia, as well as New York and Philadelphia, are all within a few hours drive of Shepherdstown.
Guest lecturers and performers, field trips, internships, and career opportunities are advantages directly related to the location of Shepherd University.
History of the University
Shepherd University began when the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, was moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in July 1871. The people of Shepherdstown and vicinity decided to use the vacated courthouse for educational purposes. An article of incorporation for a school to be known as Shepherd University, designed to instruct students “in languages, arts and sciences,” was drawn up and signed by C.W. Andrews, A.R. Boteler, C.T. Butler, G.M. Beltzhoover, David Billmyer, Samuel Knott, and Henry Shepherd. This body of incorporators gave itself power to elect instructors, pay salaries, and prescribe courses of study. Professor Joseph McMurran was appointed first principal of the institution, which opened with 42 students in September 1871, under the authority of the Board of Trustees.
On February 27, 1872, the Legislature of West Virginia passed the following act: “That a branch of the State Normal School be and the same is hereby established at the building known as Shepherd College, in Shepherdstown, in the county of Jefferson.” Shepherd became a four-year college for the training of teachers on July 1, 1930, at which time the institution began granting the bachelor of arts degree. Shepherd was authorized to implement liberal arts programs in 1943, and in 1950 the bachelor of science degree was added. Also in 1950 Shepherd was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and in 1951 it became a member of the Association of American Colleges.
In the past two decades, Shepherd has added 11 new buildings, including the $9 million Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center and the $18 million addition to the Scarborough Library, which also houses the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies. On Wednesday, April 7, 2004, Governor Bob Wise signed legislation which changed Shepherd’s name to Shepherd University, effective March 13, 2004.