History was made on Monday as Dr. Suzanne Shipley started her journey as the first female president of Midwestern State University.
Her first day kicked off at the annual meeting with faculty and staff. She received a standing ovation when she was announced to the stage.
"I'm proud to be here and I'm excited about the days and months ahead," Dr. Shipley said.
She explained it was the excellence of the university they drew her. Plus, she is from the area.
"It just seemed like a match made in heaven and when I came here I felt right at home," she said.
While on stage, she shared some of the goals she hopes to accomplish as president. One of her main goals for Midwestern State is growth.
"I think it's important that we continue being a strong liberal arts university, but in Texas today, it's time to grow," President Shipley said.
She explained a lot of places in the U.S. are losing population to Texas and that the university has to work to respond to the needs of the growth. However, while she has many ideas, she feels she needs to hear others.
"I'll be talking to faculty and staff a lot about how we want to grow, and where we want to grow," she said, "What programs, what ways in delivering those programs and what places."
This could include expanding the campus to other surrounding communities or even the metropolitan. In general, Dr. Shipley wants to learn what direction the campus needs to go. In her outline given during her presentation, this includes growth, retention, academic excellence, and diplomas. To figure out the directions people think the campus should go, communication is key.
"I'm going to talk to the students a lot about what will make this a fun place to stay, as well as learn," she said.
In the long run, she wants to make MSU a vibrant campus for people to work and learn, so it's the leading residential campus in Texas.
"Residential doesn't just mean a place to sleep and a place to live," Dr. Shipley said, "It's about making things so interesting that you stay over the weekend and that you don't always go home,"
So, having enough capacity for students, which the campus doesn't have right now, is important. Something else Dr. Shipley wants to encourage is visitors to the presidential house. She said she plans on opening it up so that way every student, before they leave, can have the opportunity to go in.
"The more I can be out and about and be with students, the better I can understand their goals," she expressed.
While she has a lot of goals in mind, she plans on keeping it simple for now by just getting to know everyone.
"You learn about 4,000 names in two months, but that's okay," she said.
Before coming to Midwestern State, Dr. Shipley was the president of Sheppard University in West Virginia. She has also worked at universities in Arizona and Maryland.