Shepherd University

Shepherd University, formerly Shepherd College, is an American, state-funded, university in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It is not to be confused with a Christian private college with the same name located in Los Angeles or with another Christian institution located in San Francisco that bears the same name as well. The University currently serves more than 4,200 students (core four) and offers the following degrees: bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of arts in elementary education, bachelor of arts in secondary education, bachelor of music education, Regents bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of science in nursing, bachelor of social work, master of arts in curriculum and instruction, master of business administration, master of arts in teaching, master of arts in college student development and administration, and master of music, music education.


The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, phone 312/263-0456. Individual programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, the West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Registered Nurses, the National League for Nursing AccreditingCommission, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.


Shepherd University began when the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, was moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in July 1871. The people of Shepherdstown and vicinity decided to use the vacated courthouse for educational purposes. An article of incorporation for a school to be known as Shepherd University, designed to instruct students “in languages, arts and sciences,” was drawn up and signed by C.W. Andrews, A.R. Boteler, C.T. Butler, G.M. Beltzhoover, David Billmyer, Samuel Knott, and Henry Shepherd. This body of incorporators gave itself power to elect instructors, pay salaries, and prescribe courses of study. Professor Joseph McMurran was appointed first principal of the institution, which opened with 42 students in September 1871, under the authority of the Board of Trustees.

On February 27, 1872, the Legislature of West Virginia passed the following act: “That a branch of the State Normal School be and the same is hereby established at the building known as Shepherd College, in Shepherdstown, in the county of Jefferson.”

Shepherd became a four-year college for the training of teachers on July 1, 1930, at which time the institution began granting the bachelor of arts degree. Shepherd was authorized to implement liberal arts programs in 1943, and in 1950 the bachelor of science degree was added. Also in 1950 Shepherd was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and in 1951 it became a member of the Association of American Colleges.

In the past two decades, Shepherd has added 11 new buildings, including the $9 million Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center; the $18 million addition to the Scarborough Library, which also houses the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies; and the $10 million nursing classroom building.

On April 7, 2004, Governor Bob Wise signed legislation allowing Shepherd College to change its name to Shepherd University.

On September 3, 2006, Douglas W. Pennington, 49, killed his sons Logan P. Pennington, 26, and Benjamin M. Pennington, 24, during a visit to the campus at Shepherd University before shooting and killing himself. The shootings occurred at about 2 p.m. The West Virginia State Police investigated the murder-suicide. A memorial was dedicated to the Penningtons on the East side of campus a year after their deaths. [,2933,211939,00.html] .

Dr. Suzanne Shipley was named the fifteenth president of Shepherd University on February 19, 2007, and began serving on June 29, 2007.


Shepherd University is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, on the banks of the Potomac River, in historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The oldest town in the state, Shepherdstown is a quaint university community, with the town and campus combining to offer a unique learning-living environment. Located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, Shepherdstown is within convert|20|mi|km of nearby Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It is only convert|65|mi|km from the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.

Within a short hike or drive of the campus are such well-known historic landmarks as Harpers Ferry, the Antietam Battlefield and the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown. The 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown may have significantly changed the course of the American Civil War as the last battle of the Maryland Campaign; the campaign that is generally acknowledged as the turning point of the Civil War. Across the Potomac River from the campus is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The C & O Canal National Historical Park, developed along the towpath of the old canal, is a beautiful recreational sanctuary, extending convert|184.5|mi|km from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown, in the nation's capital. Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia, as well as New York and Philadelphia, are all within a few hours drive of Shepherdstown.

Guest lecturers and performers, field trips, internships, and career opportunities are advantages directly related to the location. Shepherd University is also the home of the Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Program, Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF), George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, and the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd (PASS).

The Ruth Scarborough Library

The Ruth Scarborough Library collection contains varied materials, numbering 511,518 items. Printed and microtext materials compose the majority of the collection, including 164,206 printed books and bound periodicals as well as 200,474 in microfiche and microfilm. Other items in the collection include phonograph records, cassette tapes, DVDs, CDs, and video cassettes. The library currently subscribes to 521 periodicals and newspapers in paper, and it provides access to more than 12,000 periodicals in full-text. In addition, the library provides access to electronic databases and online indexing and abstracting services.

Since 1971, the library has been a selective repository for federal government publications and regularly receives West Virginia state government publications. The library houses a special collection of printed materials relating to state and regional history. The library’s computerized catalog provides Web access to materials in the Scarborough collection, and the library maintains a Web site.

The Scarborough Library, originally built in 1965, was renovated in 2002-03. The library is a place of study and research for individual and groups. The convert|46000|sqft|m2|sing=on expansion, dedicated in 2002, includes multimedia classrooms, additional reading areas and seating, and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies whose purpose is to promote an understanding of the United States Congress and the legislative process.

The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War

The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War is home to Shepherd University's Civil War & 19th Century America concentrated track of studies. Currently the program requires students to complete a program of specialized courses in addition to the courses already required of all history majors. Courses concentrate on various elements of 19th century history such as The American Civil War, 1850-1865; the Reconstruction Era; African American History; Soldiers and Society, 1861-65; and the Old South. Students also conduct primary research within the topic area and must intern at one of various historic sites in the region, such as Harpers Ferry National Historic Site. []

The ongoing research mission at The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War involves the compilation of figures from the soldiers' compiled military service records which will lead to a more definitive number of veterans from the battle born state of West Virginia. Within the next five years, data gleaned from the service records of soldiers serving in all of West Virginia's Union regiments and (Western) Virginia Confederate regiments will be compiled in the center's electronic database. Once completed a simple query will be able to provide a very accurate total for both sides including data heretofore unavailable to historians.

Currently the center is headed by Civil War historian Dr. Mark A. Snell, a retired Army officer and former assistant professor of history at West Point.


Shepherd offers 11 NCAA Division II sports including football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, softball, women's volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis, and golf. The Ram marching band, cheerleading squad, and dance team promote spirit at university home games.

Shepherd's football team is the 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, WVIAC Conference Champions. They made a national playoff appearance in 2005 and reached the third round of playoffs in 2006 while being ranked fifth in the nation. Senior Dan Peters (safety) was named a first-team All-American and senior Ricky Schmitt (kicker) was a second-team All-American in 2006. Home games are played in Ram Stadium.

External links

* [ Shepherd University website]
* [ Official Shepherd athletics website]
* [ Contemporary American Theater Festival]
* [ Uniquely Shepherdstown] - Discussion Forums

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