Shippensburg University Alumni Spotlights | slate


Shippensburg University alumni gathered behind Seth Grove Stadium for another year of tailgating ahead of the homecoming football game on Oct. 15. Alumni and current students gathered near their own organization cars or tents to socialize before the game. The Slate spoke to some of the alumni who attended this year’s SU Tailgate to hear stories from generations of SU alumni.

Liz Kemmery – 2004 Graduate

Photo courtesy of Liz Kemmery

Liz Kemmery, a board member of the Alumni Association, received two degrees from Shippensburg – communications, journalism and media and art.

“My first job was at the Shippensburg News Chronicle, making peanuts, but somehow I made it,” Kemmery said.

After that, Kemmery moved into higher education communications and marketing and worked for the University of Shippensburg for a time. She now works for the PA Food Merchants Association as Director of Communications. While at SU, Kemmery was a member of The Slate, writing and photographing for publication. She also worked at the Kriner Diner Hall in a managerial position.

“Leadership has changed many times over the years, so it’s been interesting to see the different ideas that come with the new administration,” Kemmery explained.

Kemmery also explained that many campus buildings have been redone since she attended.

When she was interviewed for a job at SU in 2013, they were dismantling McCune and building the new building. “I wish I had taken a brick,” Kemmery said.

Caryn Earl – 1998 graduate

Alumni Association board member Caryn Earl grew up primarily at Shippensburg University with her mother working for the university for about 20 years and attending Rowland Hall Nursery School (before the installation of GBLUES).

Earl graduated from SU in English and Communications/Journalism. After graduating, she moved to the Washington, DC area, working for a professional communications association. She then worked for the Ministry of Agriculture in public affairs.

She now works in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as Director of the Office of Food Distribution. Although she does not actively use either degree in her current position, she notes that she still uses the skills she learned in her job every day.

Earl worked at the University Bookstore at SU and is an Alpha Phi sister. She was the Philanthropy Chair for Alpha Phi during one of her years at SU.

“We used to do the Turkey Bowl, which was full-contact football with all the sororities, but they don’t have that anymore,” she explained.

Earl and her husband both attended Shippensburg University at the same time, however, they did not know each other at school. The two met 12 years ago when his sorority and fraternity were both in the area at the same time.

Matthew Stauch – 1992 graduate

Matthew Stauch is a brother of Sigma Phi, which is a fraternity no longer active at Shippensburg University. He also played rugby at SU for a few years as a student.

While Stauch earned his degree in administration, the former name for the political science department, he now works in construction management. Staunch explained that he started in the field the year after graduation and has been doing it ever since.

“There have been many improvements in terms of the architecture as well as the overall aesthetics of the campus,” Stauch said. “It’s beautiful now – not that it wasn’t then – but certainly a more concerted effort to make buildings more attractive and to make common areas more appealing. Certainly, responding to a higher level call.

Trisha Tinner – 1988 Graduate

Trisha Tinner, sister of Alpha Omicron Pi, met her husband at Shippensburg University. Her husband and son both attended SU and were members of the football team. Tinner earned her SU degree in social work and worked as a social worker in Cumberland County for 25 years.

Tinner started as a child and youth social worker for several years before ending as an early intervention mental health social worker. She explained that she had been an elementary school social worker for a few of the school districts in the area for a while.

“It would be nice to see so many more students participating in these games. When I was going here people were in the apartments watching the games from there and were on the hill. I’ve noticed there’s a lot less,” Tinner explained. “It’s nice to see that many campus organizations have grown and are socializing now, it’s not just sports and Greek.”

Greg Plummer – 1986 graduate

Greg Plummer graduated in Computer Science and is now the Director of IT for DLL, a financial services company. He was also an SU swimmer while at Shippensburg University and used to go for gold on the 9-hole course behind Mowry Hall.

“I’ve been above the country house dome,” Plummer said. “You are absolutely not allowed up there. It’s cool up there.

A lot has changed since Plummer was a student at SU. He explained that he lived in the Seavers apartments, which no longer exist. The water tower that can be seen from almost anywhere on campus also didn’t exist when Plummer was a student.

Sarah Houston – 1979 Graduate

Sarah Houston graduated from SU in communications. After graduating, she worked for the United States Postal Service in human resources for 35 years before retiring.

Houston is also an Alpha Kappa Alpha sister and was well involved in many SU organizations during her time as a student. When Houston went to SU, she lived in the original Naugle Hall before it was torn down.

“The campus has grown a lot and it’s still beautiful, we loved it here,” she said.

According to Houston, she and her friends have visited the League every year for Alumni Weekend for the past 20 years.

“The people we bonded with, we bonded for life,” Houston said.

Ed Wagner – 1977 graduate

Retired web developer Ed Wagner stayed close to his family at the SU hatchback on Saturday. He graduated from Shippensburg University with a degree in Business Administration/Accounting. He explained that he eventually earned a second degree in computer science and then spent 25-30 years in computer science careers.

Much has changed since 1977, Wagner pointed out that many current buildings are new additions since he attended SU.

“The performing arts center wasn’t there, and neither was the hotel and the convention center,” Wagner said. “These were very smart moves by the foundation to help generate revenue for the university.”

Allan E. Thomas, Ph.D. – 1976 graduate

While attending Shippensburg University, Allan E. Thomas, Ph.D, was a member of the football team and involved with the SU radio station, WSYC. Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from SU. Subsequently, he obtained a master’s degree in education and a master’s degree in chemistry.

In 1994, Thomas received his doctorate from Temple University and immediately started as a professor at Temple. He was an associate professor of chemistry for 28 years before retiring.

Before becoming a teacher, Thomas taught high school chemistry after graduating from high school in 1976. He also coached high school football for four years and college football for six years.

“Teaching has always been my ministry – it’s not a job, being with students, interacting with students,” Thomas explained.

The campus has undergone many changes since 1976. Many buildings have been replaced or built from scratch.

“The good thing about SU is that even though they have the new buildings, the integrity of the buildings has been maintained,” he said. “If you look across the campus, the integrity of the campus remains the same.”

Thomas explained that the friends he made at SU lasted him a lifetime. He even served on the board of the Alumni Association.

“I always thought I had to Shippensburg,” Thomas said.

According to Thomas, he had several spots in college where he felt like his “back was against the wall.” In middle school, Thomas lost two brothers and a best friend. This required him to maintain his grades and get at least a B. He explained that many professors supported him throughout his time at SU.

“One of the good things about going to a small school, all the teachers knew me as a person — not as an ID number,” Thomas explained. “I have to Shippensburg because they gave me the opportunity to pull myself together, and I did.”

William “Stretch” Bailey, Ed.D.1976 graduate

Although he graduated in December 1975, William “Stretch” Bailey, Ed.D, is considered part of the Class of 1976. Bailey earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Shippensburg University. He also earned two master’s degrees, one in education and the other in counselling. In 2007, Bailey received her doctorate from Wilmington University.

Over the years, Bailey has held numerous jobs in education as a teacher, school counselor and principal. He retired in 2013 and is now an educational consultant working with many different school districts.

While at SU, Bailey was on the basketball team and was a member of the African American Association. He was also a board member of the Alumni Association for a time.

“The school’s location lends itself to a lot of personal growth for people who come from urban areas,” he said. “We have been through the transition from when it was a farming community unaccustomed to minorities. The city had to get used to us, we had to get used to the city. We didn’t even have fast food.

According to Bailey, since SU has grown in size significantly since he attended, current students have an advantage over former students. He explained that the League now has the ability to improve and provide more opportunities for students.

Many of Bailey’s lasting friendships began at Shippensburg University.

“Herb Bowers was the campus police chief,” he explained. “He helped me a lot to stay focused, we stayed in touch for several years, I always look forward to seeing him again when I get back.”


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