Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are safe and well. I realize how hard you are working to keep Shippensburg University strong and I am grateful for your efforts. I write to you today to announce some staff and operating changes.

Dr. B. Donta Truss, vice president for enrollment management, student success and student affairs has accepted another position and will be leaving the university this summer. Dr. Truss has done an extraordinary job of leading his area at a very challenging time in higher education. He has helped us move the needle on both recruitment and retention. Please join me in thanking Dr. Truss and wishing him and his family well as he leaves Shippensburg University. Under Dr. Truss’s leadership, we have developed a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan that ensures we are better prepared for the volatility in college admissions and retention brought on by the global pandemic. So that this important work will not be interrupted, I will be making an appointment to fill his role in an interim capacity until a nationwide search can be conducted sometime in the fall.

We continue to work to support Academic Affairs in ways that will better prepare us for our future in a post-pandemic world. As such, we must give more attention to our graduate school. Effective May 13, Stephanie Jirard will assume the position of assistant provost for graduate studies and chief diversity officer on an interim basis. Jirard has served Shippensburg University since 2003. Her experience teaching graduate students, and as a former member of the APSCUF Executive Committee, brings to the position an understanding of delivering and promoting our outstanding graduate programs. Her experience as an attorney will enable her to expand the work that has been accomplished in the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Compliance. We are also fortunate to benefit from her vast professional experience in her new duties as our diversity officer.

Dr. Daniel Velez, chief equity, inclusion and compliance officer and title IX coordinator, will be leaving the university at the end of the semester. Dr. Velez has provided the office with the organization and procedures required for us to be compliant with federal and state regulations. He has secured grants that enable us to better serve the campus community and led training efforts that have begun to transform the culture of inclusion on campus. Please join me in thanking Dr. Velez for his service and wishing him well.

I also thank Dr. David Topper for his 25 years of service to the university, as I announce and congratulate him on his retirement effective June 6, 2020. We are so grateful for his willingness through the years to serve university needs when called upon. Dr. Topper has served the university in a number of capacities including co-leading the division of Administration and Finance for seven years. As we continue forward, the division of Administration and Finance will reorganize to absorb the duties of Dr. Topper’s position.

Again, I want to thank all of you for the way you have cared for our students and for your dedication to the work of the university in this challenging time. In the next couple of weeks, our graduates will launch into the next chapter of their journeys. While their final days with us will not be lived the way we would have liked, you can be proud knowing that we have prepared them well.

Stay safe and have a great weekend,

Laurie A. Carter