President Laurie Carter was officially recognized as the 17th president of Shippensburg University this afternoon in an inauguration ceremony in which the theme of the event reflected on the university’s past, present and future.
Students, alumni, faculty, community members and Carter’s family gathered at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center to celebrate her inauguration. Guest speakers included SU President Emeritus Anthony Ceddia and Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents Chair Craig Turner.
Ceddia said Carter’s presidency is a time for renewal, reflection and expectation. He gave a brief history of SU’s triumphs through difficulties, and said he has discussed with Carter the challenges and successes of being president.
“She exemplifies the characteristics of a good leader. She listens attentively and with empathy. For her, leadership is a collaborative process involving as many as possible,” Ceddia said.
Turner reflected on Carter’s time at Eastern Kentucky University where she also understood that increasing student enrollment was the first step. He said Carter understands that students are the core of any university.
To begin her inaugural address, Carter said she is aware of the university’s challenges, but she is not daunted by them. She knows that education has the power to transform lives and prepares students for a successful career and life, and that is what SU strives to do. Carter highlighted the “17 Days of Kindness” campaign that led up to her inauguration. The campaign exemplified how the university will bring change, and Carter is proud of all who are part of the Shippensburg community.
Carter also addressed the themes of enrollment, marketing, quality and communication. She said the university is moving forward with a sense of urgency to make decisions that impact students now, and the faculty understands the sense of urgency. Enrollment has declined over the past five years, and enrollment is a key priority, but retention is also important. To combat these, Carter has created the division of enrollment management and student success.
“While we are taking time to imagine what Ship could look like in the future, we are still moving forward with a sense of urgency. The students who are enrolled at Ship deserve action now,” Carter said.
Along with enrollment and retention, Carter expressed the need for a greater bond with alumni and the Shippensburg community. Students are more satisfied with their university experience when they are connected with the community. Carter said she will make sure that Shippensburg is a vibrant community with a vibrant future.
“I am mindful that all of us, Ship students, faculty, staff, alumni and community, know that a new day is dawning at Ship,” Carter said.