Shenandoah Celebrates 25 Years as a University
Share your memories and thoughts as Shenandoah University celebrates its silver anniversary milestone in 2016.
A lot can happen in 25 years. If you were an adult in 1991, you’ve likely traded your mixtape for a Pandora playlist, recycled your World Book Encyclopedia for an Internet search on your smartphone, and now spend nights watching “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, rather than Johnny Carson, on your 60-inch flat screen TV.
Shenandoah, too, has grown dramatically, adding new programs and facilities, expanding its reach beyond main campus — and becoming stronger financially and reputationally — while serving in a more engaged role in the local community and providing a global reach that is wider and deeper than ever before. Yet in the days and months preceding the moment when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1990, the former Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music was working toward becoming something new — it was becoming a university.
Twenty five years is considered a major milestone in a marriage and is celebrated with the theme of sterling silver. Sterling, meaning excellent, first-rate, first-class and exceptional. [That] is how I would characterize the evolution of Shenandoah College and Conservatory into Shenandoah University. The new status resulted in more fields of study, more students, more staff and more buildings. The cultural and educational opportunities now available at Shenandoah have been a true blessing to the Winchester community in so many ways. Happy Anniversary.
—Pam Bell ’71, ’83
My parents wondered why I was attending a conservatory to major in business management. When we became a university, I remember thinking ‘now all of the programs will be appropriately recognized under the university umbrella.’”
—Anne Popp Lewis ’92, ’06, ’11
During my first three years at Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music, there was a quaint feel [to campus] before the construction boom that added facilities to the university. The library was housed in Howe Hall and the music library was [located] in the basement. It was like a cave of treasure where you went to find new music to listen to down in the stacks. The student center [Wilkins Administration Building] was really a center of action in those days. The practice rooms and the jazz suite were housed in the basement. Dr. Nelson’s trumpet studio, Dr. Averitt’s flute studio and the trumpet studio were on the west side of the building, and the bookstore, mailboxes and snack machines were housed there, too. A big screen TV was in the ballroom [on the second floor], and the business office was on the other side of the ballroom. In the evenings, there were always people taking a break from practicing. In those days, when the spring or fall musical was staged, music ensemble rehearsals were held in the ballroom. While we sounded good, I can’t begin to think of how the folks in the business office got work done with a Jazz Ensemble or the Wind Ensemble “serenading” them! I also remember how treacherous the path down the hill from the upper campus to Armstrong and Gregory Halls was on super slick on rainy or icy days. Someone would always fall, a victim of that slope.”
—Chris Williams ’95
I am glad that Shenandoah College became Shenandoah University, because it has opened the door for students to take their education to the next level by offering post-graduate programs that resulted in me obtaining my MBA. “
— Becky Merriner ’01
John Kennedy said Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another. Shenandoah University continues to be committed to student success by embracing excellence and creativity as it grows future leaders.”
— Maryam Tabatabai ’00
I always thought Shenandoah College and Conservatory was a university well before the name change, as we offered such a full range of educational opportunities. I welcomed it at the time, and can’t believe it’s been 25 years!”
— Robert Larson, ’08, Associate Professor, Director of Jazz Studies and Harrison Endowed Chair
When I went to Shenandoah in 1992, I did not have a personal computer. Imagine that…I completed my undergraduate degree without owning a computer! I used the computer lab that was located on the second floor of Henkel Hall, as well as in Smith Library. Exams were all pencil and paper, and grades were received by paper via snail mail. No one had any kind of cell phone. There was a lot of overhead projector use by faculty and even mimeographs! Commuter students would study or take a break in the lobby area of Howe Hall (outside of the current writing center). Nursing and Respiratory Care courses were offered downtown in the John Kerr building. Any student from either of those programs during my years would recall Dr. Brandt and Mrs. Brandt and their A&P course and lab. I did my work study at the John Kerr Building with Linda Burrow and Pearl Underwood, who worked for Dr. Small. What is the difference in Shenandoah University today? Technology plays a huge role in delivery of instruction, in assessments as well as student advising. I would describe the campus culture and Shenandoah experience today as being more vibrant. There is greater diversity in the students, as well as in what is offered to our students in programs, courses and campus life activities. Allen Dining Hall hasn’t changed too much, but I think the food offered has [improved].
— Stephanie Cross ’92, ’94, Director of the Division of Respiratory Care
Athletically, Shenandoah is night and day from 25 years ago. Back in ’91, we were a part of the Eastern States Athletic Conference, a league that disbanded 23 years ago! We had 10 sports and all of the coaches were located in one room. Everything we have today, football, membership in the ODAC and an athletic center, was just a dream at that point.”
— Scott Musa, Assistant Athletics Director
It seems so long ago, it is difficult to remember! I guess I felt excitement and pride, and real optimism for the future of the institution. After 25 years, I haven’t been disappointed.”
— Christopher A. Bean, Director, University Libraries
I recall the days when most students had phones in their dorms and the only way to contact them was to call the room, go to the classroom or dorm, or track them down in the cafeteria.”
— Pearl Underwood, Office Manager, Wilkins Wellness Center