By Jana Mangubat, Contributor
Mary Shockey was new to the Winchester community when she was invited by former president Jim Davis to get involved with the President’s Advisory Council at Shenandoah University. Then, Shenandoah University was a small, but growing college. The Davis administration was looking to the Winchester community for collaboration on new ideas and direction for what Shockey calls, “a collection of little buildings.”
Since then, the University has grown substantially, including the addition of a more diverse population of trustees. According to Shockey, when she was first appointed as a trustee in 1998, there were only three other women on the board.
Now, the Board of Trustees is made up of a group of people with many ideas and different backgrounds. There are 22 men and 14 women, and this diversity of the board allows for a wide variety of approaches in decision-making.
To be appointed to the board of trustees, one must not only have have time, but they must be willing to open their rolodex to help raise funds on behalf of the University. Shockey has both, but what comes through when speaking with her is a passion to educate and motivate students to become global citizens.
According to Mitch Moore, senior vice president and vice president for advancement, the role of the Board to “[ensure] that the University has an appropriate mission, plan, and financial mix to make sure that the plan happens.”
This 42-member group also oversees the University’s direction and makes financial decisions on behalf of the University. They set the mission and goals of the University, and then measure how the mission and goals are met on an annual basis.
Trustees are volunteers, and they hold their appointed positions for three years. Each trustee can serve for up to four terms.
“They govern at a very high level,” Moore said. Once a decision has been made by the board, it becomes the president’s job to carry out those decisions in whatever way he or she deems most effective.
The Board of Trustees meets three times a year, though members attend campus events throughout the year. While they are not involved in the day-to-day business of the University, they remain connected in many ways.
Shockey is proud to be a part of a community that works together so well.
“There is a general consensus that this is the type of school that we want to be,” she said. “The Board is open-hearted, they are willing to talk about the difficult stuff. We want to be good.”
Shockey also said “that every student needs to have a good basis for their degree. They need learn to critically think, to write well, and to function with technology.”
According to the official University website, the mission statement of Shenandoah states that the institution, “educates and inspires individuals to be critical, reflective thinkers; lifelong learners; and ethical, compassionate citizens who are committed to making responsible contributions within a community, a nation and the world.”
This mission statement is what drives Shenandoah University towards its goals. Additionally, the Board of Trustees reviews and measures each school’s success in obtaining these goals.
Shockey wants to “support people who have a vision and say, ‘What do you want me to do to help you?’” she said. “That way, everybody is walking a similar path with this vision, and it is critical to have leaders who are risk-takers.”
“If we don’t, as a board, be leaders ahead of the curve, we will fall by the wayside,” Shockey said. “We have to be ahead of the game, we have to be risk-takers.”
“To be a trustee is to give time, and if you are not interested, you are not going to take the time to learn about the facets of the college or conservatory,” Shockey said. Regarding her time as a trustee, Shockey said, “I have had the best time!”