Hello Ship community,
I write to you today with a personal and bittersweet message. It is with emotion I share that, after much discussion with my family, I have decided to accept an opportunity that moves us away from Shippensburg. This summer, I will be transitioning to Lawrence University, in Appleton, WI where I will become their next president.
I am so grateful to have had the privilege of serving as the President of Shippensburg University for the last four years. It has been my great honor to work alongside you as we tackled the many challenges the university has faced. When I arrived, I told you that we would make waves together because waves take us places, carry us to new heights, and are powerful enough to break down barriers. Through collaboration and working for the best for our students we have indeed made waves.
We have gone to new places to ensure the long-term sustainability of Ship. We created a first-year experience program, revised general education curriculum, and created a comprehensive student success center. We have balanced the budget helping us avoid tapping into university reserves and setting us up for financial sustainability going forward.
These efforts brought us to new heights. We have increased retention by 6%. We have raised our rankings in US News and World Report climbing 12 spots in the region this year alone and breaking into the top 25 in the region public universities, and we have more Fulbright Scholars than any PASSHE institution. We have also deepened relationships with industry partners. We restored Stewart Hall, renovated the steam plant to house our new School of Engineering, created a downtown location for our Centers of Excellence and received the largest gift in athletic history to build a new locker room for our student athletes.
And we have broken down barriers. When the global pandemic struck, we did not back down continuing our work to do what is best for our students. When other schools chose to remain remote, we did the hard work to open our campus in the fall. Together we have made it happen, tackling each challenge that came our way. We have faced the social justice issues plaguing the country by creating a Chief Diversity Officer position, engaging in courageous conversations, renovating historic Gilbert Hall, creating a PRIDE center, obtaining grants to support bystander intervention training, and hosting Ship’s first Diversity Week.
As we look ahead and sail into less tumultuous waters, my family and I are sad to leave. But, I know I leave Shippensburg University strong and ready for this new higher education landscape.
This was not an easy decision. It is hard to say goodbye. I have loved working with you and serving in the system that prepared me for this important next step in my career as a higher education leader. It has been one of the great joys and accomplishments of my career to serve the students, faculty and staff of Shippensburg University, and I am glad that I have a few more months with you to keep moving our mighty Ship forward. I will relish every moment.
Again, thank you all for the support you have shown me and for your unending contributions to Shippensburg University. I am proud to be a Raider and will carry the Ship spirit with me forever.
Laurie A. Carter