Inauguration of Shepherd’s 16th president

The future 16th President of Shepherd University, Mary J.C. Hendrix.

(THE PICKET) – Mary J.C. Hendrix will be inaugurated Shepherd University’s 16th president on Friday, April 8 at 3 the Butcher Center. The ceremony will be a two-day installation in which Shepherd University students are invited.

Shepherd is 145 years old and this is only its 16th presidential installation, for many students this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Having a Shepherd graduate come to be our president is very special for us all,” said senior William Ashby. “Being familiar with Shepherdstown and our campus should be a positive advantage.”

“It is clear that her love for Shepherd throughout the years never faltered. She remained a member of the SU foundation and has played a huge role in that. It’s like one of us is coming home,” said junior biology major Justin Allen.

Hendrix graduated Shepherd University in 1974 and went on to obtain her doctorate from George Washington University. She became a leading scientist in cancer research, concentrating on identifying genes that lead to cancer. She also discovered new therapeutic strategies of coping for cancer patients. Hendrix holds seven patents in the field.

Hendrix has written more than 250 articles on biomedical research and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute. She is also on the Board of Directors at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences, based in California; she chairs the National Disease Research Interchange board, where she works to make medical research a higher national priority.

The two-day inauguration will be comprised of a panel discussing energy, an ice cream social, a Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble Concert, a benefit to fight cancer, a leadership speech, as well as a speech about Relay for Life. Relay for Life is Shepherd’s biggest goodwill project every year. The Shepherd Rams, and their community, have raised approximately $700,000 in the last 13 years. A torch will be lit on April 8th in the Butcher Center Plaza by Hendrix in honor of Relay for Life.

Scheduled events include the following:

Friday, April 8

• Inauguration Symposium—“The University’s Role in Translating Energy Challenges into Business and Employment Opportunities,” moderated by President Mary J.C. Hendrix, and featuring Michael Polsky, founder, president, and CEO of Invenergy LLC; Dr. Xingbo Liu, professor and associate chair of research at the West Virginia University Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; and Dr. Jeffrey Groff, associate professor of physics at Shepherd, 1 p.m., Frank Center Theater (PLEASE NOTE: this event has been moved from Erma Ora Byrd to the larger Frank Center Theater).
• Installation Ceremony, 3 p.m., Butcher Center Arena.
• Relay for Life Torch Lighting, 4:30 p.m., Butcher Center Plaza.
• Inauguration Reception, 4:45 p.m., Wellness Center Arena.
• Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble Concert, 8 p.m., Frank Center Theater.
• Candlelight Benefit to Fight Cancer, 9:45 p.m., Butcher Center Plaza.

Saturday, April 9

• Ice Cream Social, Noon, Butcher Center Plaza, featuring Nutter’s ice cream. Student leaders and football team members will be on hand to scoop.
• Shepherd Baseball vs. Urbana University, 1 p.m., Fairfax Field.
• Shepherd Softball vs. University of Virginia’s College at Wise, 1 p.m., Softball Field.
• Leadership Summit—“You Don’t Need A Title to Be A Leader,” Mark Sanborn, best-selling author and nationally-recognized speaker, 5 p.m., Frank Center Theater.
For more information on scheduled events, visit


Updated: 4/6/16 at 11:23 a.m.