SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — For the first time in its 144-year history, Shepherd University will be led by a Shepherd graduate.
The Shepherd University Board of Governors announced Wednesday that Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix-a 1974 alumna of Shepherd-will serve as its 16th president.
Shepherd University’s presidential search has been underway since last spring when former president Suzanne Shipley announced her resignation. Since then, Dr. Sylvia Manning has been serving as the university’s interim president.
Manning will continue serving as the interim president until Hendrix starts her first official day as president on Feb. 29, 2016.
Until then, Hendrix will make trips to Shepherd in order to prepare herself for the role and become more familiar with Shepherd’s needs.
Hendrix is currently serving as president and chief scientific officer of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“We are pleased that Dr. Hendrix has accepted our offer to serve as Shepherd’s next president,” said Dr. Marcia Brand, chair of the Board of Governors and presidential search committee. “We are confident that she can leverage her diverse academic experiences in the liberal arts, science and technology, administration, fundraising, community outreach and national advocacy to advance Shepherd University as a center of excellence, innovation, and opportunity.
“Dr. Hendrix has a passion for this institution that is immediately obvious to all when she talks about Shepherd,” added Brand. “She will provide us with leadership to support our mission as a premier, public liberal arts university and will reinforce our core values of learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community.”
Hendrix, a native of Shepherdstown, said the location and timing of the position is what enticed her to apply. Hendrix also said that she was notified of Shepherd’s need for a president because of The Journal’s article.
“Even though I don’t live and work in Shepherdstown anymore, I was lucky to be able to keep a family residence established there still and I stay connected with friends and family,” Hendrix said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
“Every time I come back I pick up The Journal and read all the articles and that’s actually how I saw the opening for this position,” Hendrix laughed. “Friends and family will always cut out articles and send them to me too.”
Hendrix said she is excited to return to Shepherdstown and bring her outside knowledge to the school.
“I went to Shepherd College, before it became a university, and I grew up in Shepherdstown going to Saint Joseph’s, I am just very thrilled to return home,” Hendrix said.
“I received a strong, multidisciplinary education from Shepherd and it provided to me with valuable education from the faculty, staff and members of the community, and now I am very appreciative for the opportunity to bring my diverse experience training in private and public parameters and in fundraising,” she said.
After graduating from Shepherd with a B.S. degree in pre-med/biology and a minor in English, Hendrix received her Ph.D. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and then was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship to train at Harvard Medical School. Her career in higher education and academic medical centers also includes faculty and leadership positions at the University of Arizona, University of California San Francisco, St. Louis University, and the University of Iowa. Hendrix is credited with more than 270 research publications.
Hendrix has been heavily involved in cancer research and has been a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils, the National Human Genome Research Institute Council, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors. Her many honors include a MERIT Award from NCI, a University of Iowa Award for Excellence and Achievement Among Women and the Distinguished Woman Faculty Award from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Shepherd’s selection of Hendrix is subject to confirmation by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) on Nov. 20.
“I am deeply honored to accept the presidential leadership position and return home to my alma mater in Shepherdstown,” Hendrix said.
-Staff writer Katiann Marshall can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 182, or at Twitter.com/KmarshallJN.