Shippensburg University alumni reunited with each other behind Seth Grove Stadium for the annual homecoming tailgate before the football game on Nov. 4. The SU alumni joined with current SU students at their cars and organization tents to celebrate this year’s homecoming.
The tailgate was preceded by the annual homecoming parade which featured floats that reflected the homecoming theme — “Through The Decades.” The parade featured familiar faces such as Shippo the Hippo and three iterations of Big Red. The Slate took the time to speak with some of the Shippensburg University alumni at the tailgate and hear the stories that they had to tell.
Darrell Miller & Frank Klink - 1975 & 1977 Graduates
Both during their time as students at Shippensburg University and after, Darrell Miller and Frank Klink have been heavily involved with the university. Miller and Klink both received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from SU, while Miller received his MBA in 1990. The two are now involved with volunteering — Miller with his church.
Klink is a Phi Sigma Epsilon brother; this fraternity merged with Phi Sigma Kappa in 1985. Miller was a football player during his time at SU. “It was a wonderful experience for me,” he said.
For 10 years, Klink worked for Shippensburg University Student Services Inc. (SUSSI) as the senior accountant. Miller was also the president of SUSSI for a time, and after he left, the title was changed to executive director.
“I am a big fan of The Slate. I pick it up all the time,” Klink said. “I am going to pick one up before I go.”
During his senior year, Miller was a senator for the Student Government Association (SGA). He was a part of the Budget and Finance committee during his time in SGA.
“This was a while ago, but there was some streaking around campus,” Miller said. According to Klink, The Slate had featured, “a big centerfold with a motorcycle” that covered the issue.
John duHadway - 1985 Graduate
John duHadway graduated from Shippensburg University with a degree in business accounting. He now lives in California and reunited with his friends and fellow football players at SU’s 2023 homecoming celebrations.
DuHadway explained that he has a few friends that he still keeps in touch with from SU and mentioned that the Red Raider 4 Life organization allows the football players to stay connected.
“This is probably the first time in almost 30 years that I’ve been back [to SU] and it has changed dramatically,” he said. “It’s quite depressing,” duHadway joked.
Among the changes, duHadway explained that he used to work at the University Lodge which was, at the time, the only hotel and bar in town. According to The Shippensburg News-Chronicle, the building was damaged by a fire that occurred in 2002 and was demolished in August 2010.
“The hotel that I am staying at [the Courtyard Marriott] was a cornfield when I attended school here,” duHadway added. In addition to these changes, he noted that his first dorm building, Lackhove Hall, was demolished and rebuilt.
“Everything has changed, but the people are still the same,” duHadway said.
Dean Dinnocenti & Matt Miller - 1986 & 1989 Graduates
Kappa Sigma brothers Dean Dinnocenti and Matt Miller reunited at SU’s homecoming tailgate. The two recalled many memories from their days participating in Greek Life at SU.
Miller explained that during one of their years at SU, they decorated an alumni brother’s old, beat up station wagon for the homecoming parade.
“We drove through the parade and we never got in trouble,” Dinnocenti explained. Despite not being a part of the parade, they had found where the parade started and inched their vehicle into the lineup.
“It was actually published in The Slate that year,” Miller said.
Miller graduated with a degree in criminal justice and is the director of the Dauphin County Work Release Center. He also received his master’s degree from Shippensburg University in 2004. Dinnocenti studied marketing at SU and has been in sales for 37 years.
Cindy Boyer - 1992 Graduate
Former Slater Cindy Boyer studied communications with an emphasis in journalism. Boyer returned for SU’s homecoming tailgate. Her son is also an SU alum, and her daughter is an SU senior.
“I graduated when we were without cell phones or the internet — I spent so many hours in the library,” Boyer said.
Boyer explained that she wanted to write for the newspaper and got to do so for about two years after graduation. Though, for the last 29 years, she has worked in volunteer management.
“I wrote for The Slate back in the day,” Boyer said. In addition, she worked on the Cumberland yearbook and was a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Boyer remembers taking many of her classes with Michael Drager, adviser of The Slate. “He was my favorite professor,” she said.
Brittany & Shane Lukenda 2013 Graduates
Brittany Lukenda, a Kappa Beta Gamma sister, and Shane Lukenda, a Theta Zi brother, met during their time at Shippensburg University through their involvement in Greek Life.
“Greek week was always really fun because that was what we were involved in,” Brittany Lukenda said. She explained that when they were students, they would watch the football games every weekend from the balconies of the College Park apartments.
Since they have family that lives in the area, they explained that they have an excuse to visit SU a lot more. The two attended the homecoming tailgate with their daughter this year. “She can be a legacy here someday,” Brittany Lukenda said.
Grant Innerst, Ph.D. - 2015 Graduate
SU mathematics professor Grant Innerst returned with the math club for the homecoming parade and tailgate. During his time at SU as a student, Innerst studied mathematics with a secondary education certification. However, after he completed his student teaching, he decided to attend graduate school instead.
“I kept myself busy during school,” he explained. Innerst was a member of the math clubs, concert choir, the Madrigal Singers, a student of the Wood Honors College and an SU alumni ambassador — he was president of each club at some point throughout his years at SU.
“I’ve met a ton of great people and some really close friends that I have stayed in touch with afterwards,” Innerst said.
In 2019, Innerst returned to SU to teach for the mathematics department. “I’m here all the time now,” he explained.
“Hopefully I can pull a bunch of the honors people that I graduated with and we can do something for homecoming,” he said. This year marks Innerst’s eighth year since graduating from SU and fourth year teaching at SU.
Khaleel McFadden - 2015 Graduate
Former SU football player Khaleel McFadden has returned for homecoming weekend every year since his graduation in 2015.
“I only missed one year when I had to work,” he said. “But that happens.” McFadden graduated with a degree in psychology and is a police officer with the Philadelphia Police Department.
McFadden expressed the community building that happened at Shippensburg and on Richard Street post-games. “Richard Street had the best stories — after football games, Richard Street was amazing,” he explained. “It’s naturally what you want to see as a college student because it had that ambiance and the experiences of classic college.”
He explained that the police worked to keep people safe without heckling anyone. “Ship was always a fun time,” McFadden said.
McFadden is an Omega Psi Phi brother; he explained that this was the first African American fraternity on campus.
Devin Fisher & Matt Kotroco & Dominic Gagliardi - 2018 Graduates
Devin Fisher, Matt Kotroco and Dominic Gagliardi are only a small portion of their large group of friends, or “core” as Fisher called them, that met at Shippensburg University. Fisher and Gagliardi both graduated with degrees in supply chain, while Kotroco graduated with a degree in criminal justice and law.
“Ship brought us all together,” Fisher explained. He explained that there are 20 to 30 of them that still get together. Most of them all live within an hour or so of each other.
“It’s a blessing. I see you guys completely unrelated to homecoming,” Kotroco said. “I will get to see you at friendsgiving in a couple of weeks.”
The trio explained that there used to be a brick house behind the football field that someone rented that would throw parties on Fridays and Saturdays. “The Brickhouse was the destination,” Kotroco said.
During their time at SU, the group frequently participated in club sports. Gagliardi explained that they would usually participate in two per semester.
Their group of friends at SU started a Club Kronum, which is a newer sport that combines basketball, soccer and handball. They explained that other state schools had teams for the sport and that they tried to keep the club afloat after their graduation, but it eventually fizzled out.
“We try to get together as much as possible, but homecoming is always one of our favorite things,” Gagliardi said.
Emma Halsey - 2023 Graduate
Former WSYC general manager Emma Halsey reunited with communication and journalism students at the homecoming tailgate.
“I loved doing ‘Up All Night’ with WSYC, those are my favorite memories,” she said. Halsey was also a desk assistant during her time at Shippensburg University
“It is super fun to be back,” Halsey said.
Additionally, Halsey was a member of the 2022 Homecoming Court. She explained that it was a lot of fun. “Enjoy your time in college because whether you like it or not — full time is not great,” Halsey said