More people than ever are learning that Shenandoah University is a great choice for continuing their education. Our student body surpassed 4,300 this year, including visiting students, and we have a record number of students living on campus, with more than 1,200 students in campus housing, including those at Vaden Campus Commons, which was given to the university last year in one of the largest real estate donations in its history.
But, we can’t say either number surprises us too much, considering how Shenandoah is distinguishing itself and garnering attention on a national (and even international) scale.
In September, Haley Van Voorhis ’25, a safety on Shenandoah’s football team, received accolades and congratulations from across the nation for her appearance as a female non-kicker in the Hornets’ Sept. 23 victory over Juniata College. Tennis legend Billie Jean Kingand former NFL star and current University of Colorado Boulder head football coach Deion Sanders were among those who commended her, along with ESPN and Shenandoah University fans who gave her over 3 million shoutouts on social media!
September also brought an international opportunity – Shenandoah’s marching band (which has grown from 73 members to 124 members between its inaugural and second years), cheerleaders and Conservatory Studio Big Band were invited to perform at London’s New Year’s Day Parade & Festival to celebrate the beginning of 2025.
Careers started strongly as well going into the fall, with 100% of the musical theatre BFA class of 2023 acquiring representation from talent agents and managers.
Doctor of Physical Therapy/Master of Science in Athletic Training (DPT/MSAT) student Gene Perle-Jones interned with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers over the summer, while DPT/MSAT graduate Janese Malone ’22, who interned with the Kansas City Chiefs, as a student is now employed by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
The Health & Life Sciences Building is now the Cecil Pruitt, Jr. Health & Life Sciences Building in honor of Pruitt’s loyal support and significant contributions to Shenandoah University.
Shenandoah’s golf program now has a new campus home in the Singhass Simulator located in Shingleton Gymnasium, funded by an anonymous donor. The radar-based launch monitor, like the ones used by PGA tour players, helps golfers learn how far they can carry the ball with each club under a host of conditions. In addition to the simulator, the space houses an indoor putting green for our golf team.
In other news, over the summer, students Shannon Eissele ’24 (biology) and Connor Hill ’26 (computer science and data science and applied mathematics)were among a select group of their peers from across the country to participate in NASA’s RockOn program at Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket launch site located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Also this summer, Professor of Biopharmaceutical Sciences Jen Bryant, Ph.D., competed in the World Ninja League World Championships, earning 2nd place in the Masters Female division. She was one of only two women in this division to complete 7 out of 8 obstacles and the only American on the podium!
Our Physician Assistant Studies program ranks first in Virginia and stands tied for 20th in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s most recent graduate school rankings, and Professor Emeritus Tony Miller, M.Ed., recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Physician Assistant Educators Association at its October meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Through the generosity of David and Lynn Baxa, Shenandoah has created the Baxa Family Chair for Stakeholder Capitalism. Associate Professor Giles Jackson, Ph.D., director of Shenandoah’s Institute for Business, Sustainability and Society, was appointed to the new position, which will help the School of Business expand learning opportunities to promote sustainability in business.
The Mirza-Barzinji Fund for Global Virtual Learning to support the Barzinji Institute for Global Virtual Learning was recently established through a gift from the Mirza Family Foundation, as was the Mirza Family Rotating Chair in Global Learning; Associate Professor of Virtual & Augmented Reality Mohammad Obeid, Ph.D., will be the first holder of this chair.
In October, students in the School of Business’ Esports program traveled to Dublin, Ireland, on a Global Experiential Learning trip, where they participated in Dublin GamerFest to provide organizational help and learn what it takes to run a major esports event, and visited Riot Games’ Remote Broadcast Center.
Additionally, the university introduced new programs this summer/fall:
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering with four concentrations in:
- Computer engineering
- Software engineering
- Simulation engineering
- Engineering physics
- 3-year Bachelor of Arts in Music
- 3-year Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Commercial Music
- Bachelor of Business Administration, Aviation Studies Concentration
- Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
- Master of Voice Pedagogy CCM and Classical (online program)
- Master of Science in Health Sciences (online)
- Doctor of Medical Science (online)
The university is also partnering with Valley Health for a joint NextGen Nurses Program, funded in part by GO Virginia, which will train nursing students with the help of retired nurses and simulation technology.
Shenandoah moved up a level, to silver, in the Military Friendly® Schools Survey, and was once again recognized as a College of Distinction, with special mentions also given to the university by the CoD organization in the areas of Business, Education, Nursing, Career Development, Military Support, and Equity & Inclusion. As an emerging Hispanic-serving institution, Shenandoah has joined the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities as well.
As you can see, we’re going strong at Shenandoah, and we’re poised for continued success as we head into our 150th anniversary year in 2025!
Thanks for being part of our community and remember, it’s always a great day to be a Hornet!