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Presidential inauguration slated for April 8-10

ISSUED: 14 March 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University will install its 16th president, Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, April 8 during a ceremony at 3 p.m. in the Butcher Center. The installation will be part of a three-day inauguration that will include a panel discussion about energy, a speech about leadership, Relay for Life, a symphonic band and wind ensemble concert, and an ice cream social.

“Inaugurations are very significant times in the life of a university, especially here at Shepherd,” said Chris Sedlock, vice president for university advancement and chair of the inauguration committee. “Shepherd is 145 years old and this is only our 16th inauguration, so our presidents tend to come and stay for a good long time.”

Sedlock said one of the most unique aspects of this inauguration is the fact that Hendrix is a Shepherd graduate.

“College campuses are used to homecomings,” Sedlock said. “This is a homecoming of all homecomings for Mary Hendrix since she is from Shepherdstown, is a Shepherd alum, and now is coming back to lead as president.”

During the formal installation, Dr. Marcia Brand, chair of the Shepherd University Board of Governors, will place a medallion that includes the Shepherd seal around Hendrix’s neck with assistance from Dr. Paul Hill, chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission. Sedlock said the inauguration committee has tried to plan a series of events over a two-day period, April 8-9, that reaches out to everyone.

“We have as bookends to the inauguration two high profile events that will bring to campus two nationally recognized leaders,” Sedlock said. “Michael Polsky will join us for the symposium that kicks off the inauguration on Friday afternoon, and Mark Sanborn will join us as the keynote speaker for a leadership summit presented by the Shepherd University Alumni Association that concludes the inauguration on Saturday.”

Polsky will participate in a panel discussion about the future of energy in the state, which will be moderated by President Hendrix, and Sanborn will talk about the importance of developing leadership skills at all levels of an organization. Both of these events will be held in the Frank Center Theater.

Shepherd’s 14th Annual Relay For Life­—an overnight fundraising walk supporting the American Cancer Society—takes place that weekend. Hendrix, who is a nationally recognized cancer researcher, will light the torch on Friday afternoon to kick off this year’s event. Sedlock said over the past 13 years, Shepherd has raised almost $700,000 for Relay For Life, which is the university’s biggest service project and involves students, faculty, staff, and the community.

“What we will celebrate is a president who has spent her life’s work as a cancer researcher coming home to a campus that has invested so much time and energy to do exactly the same thing over the last 13 years,” Sedlock said. “The Relay for Life torch lighting will be a very special moment in the course of the weekend.”

The Shepherd University 2016 Inauguration Committee includes community members Bridget Cohee, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson and member of Shepherd’s Board of Governors; Christopher Colbert, United Bank vice president and president of Shepherd’s Alumni Association; Tiffany Lawrence, director of resource development and marketing at the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle and a Shepherd alumna; Sara Lueck, media center specialist at Jefferson High School, secretary of the Shepherd University Scarborough Society, and a Shepherd alumna; and Roberta DeBiasi, M.D., division chief of infectious disease at Children’s National Medical Center and Contemporary American Theater Festival board member.

The committee also includes Dow Benedict, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities; Dr. Stacey Kendig, chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Sport; Dr. Robert Warburton, assistant dean of teaching and learning; Dr. Tom Segar, acting vice president for enrollment management; Valerie Owens, executive director of university communications; Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation; Eric Shuler, director of facilities management; Holly Morgan Frye, acting vice president for student affairs; John McAvoy, chief of university police; Sonya Sholley administrative coordinator for the president; Ramona Kissel, advancement associate and member of Shepherd’s Board of Governors; and Caitlin O’Connor, vice president of the Student Government Association.

Ten inauguration events are free and open to the public:

Friday, April 8

Saturday, April 9

Sunday, April 10

For more information, visit

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