Shippensburg University will celebrate the accomplishments of graduate and doctoral students during its winter commencement ceremony on Friday, December 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Luhrs Center.

The ceremony will feature remarks from Dan Williard ’16M, a fourth-generation Hershey Company employee. Williard attended Penn State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and began his career at Hershey as an on-site contractor in retail data analysis working on Hershey’s seasonal candy business. He earned an MBA at Shippensburg University in 2016. 

After two years he accepted a full-time position with the company in the Consumer and Business Insights group. He provided strategic direction for the newly acquired KRAVE meat snacks business and was part of building a new emerging brands business model. He also was responsible for building a five-year sales forecast model used to identify future potential merger and acquisition targets.  

His passion for the work in the mergers and acquisition space took him to his next role as a manager of Mergers/Acquisitions, International, and Digital Commerce. He was part of Hershey’s largest acquisition ever with Amplify Snack Brands and assisted in launching the Brookside brand in India. Continuing to progress his career, he assumed responsibilities in the US and Corporate Strategy team creating three to five-year company strategic plans. He was then tasked with a new function at the company, becoming a senior manager in Business Analytics and Planning.  

He is currently the brand innovation manager for the Kit Kat, Payday, and Cadbury brands where he is responsible for creating and managing new product development for three to five years in the future. In marketing this $2.5 billion portfolio, Dan transformed the Kit Kat portfolio through a multi-year strategic re-stage of consumer target, product portfolio, and advertising investment. Kit Kat saw +$80M and +13 percent top-line growth in the first year of the project. He also was a part of the launch of five $20M+ innovation projects including Kit Kat Duos, Kit Kat THINS, Kit Kat Limited Edition, and Chocolatey Payday programs.  

Dan lives in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania with his partner Jason and their two golden retrievers—Etsy and Piper. As an avid animal lover, his passion is evident as he drives awareness and fundraising for several local animal shelters. He also volunteers his time mentoring future business leaders through the Milton Hershey School’s Honors program. He frequents Shippensburg University as a guest speaker and is a member of the John L. Grove College of Business Marketing Advisory Committee.