Shepherd University

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Shepherd University
Shepherd University Seal (larger).gif
Established September 1871, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia
February 27, 1872, by the Legislature of West Virginia
Type Public coeducational
President Suzanne Shipley, PhD
Undergraduates 4,200
Postgraduates 200
Location Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA
Campus 323 acres (1.31 km2)
Colors Blue and Gold
Nickname Rams

Shepherd University, formerly Shepherd College, is a state-funded university in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, United States. The University currently serves more than 4,200 students.


The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. 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 Accrediting Commission, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.[citation needed]


McMurran Hall

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. The $21.6 million Wellness Center opened on June 11, 2009 and includes a 25-yard, eight-lane pool; two basketball courts, and six basketball hoops; two racquetball courts, indoor elevated 1/10 mile jogging track; two multi-purpose rooms with mirrored wall for group exercise classes; 7,500+ square foot weight and fitness area as well as a dining venue operated by Shepherd's Dining Services.

Contemporary Arts Center entrance Phase I
Sara Cree Hall, Studio Theater Exterior
Frank Center Stage

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

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


Shepherd University was named the top-ranked West Virginia public baccalaureate institution for the second year, earning the 39th spot among Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South in the 2010 edition of America's Best Colleges, published by U.S. News Media Group. However, it fell to 82 in the 2012 edition.

Shepherd's peer assessment score increased this year to 3.11, up from 3.0 in 2008 and 2.9 in 2007. This assessment, which accounts for 25 percent of the U.S. News ranking score, consists of the opinions of presidents, provosts, and deans of admissions about peer schools' academic programs.

The Princeton Review ranks the university among the "Best Southeastern Colleges."[1]


Shepherd University is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, on the banks of the Potomac River, in historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

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[edit]

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 individuals and groups. The 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2) 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.

Home of CATF[edit]

The Contemporary American Theater Festival is an annual festival of new plays by American playwrights, most often premieres or second or third productions. CATF focuses on plays that deal with contemporary issues that boldly challenge and entertain audiences.[2]

Since 1991, CATF has produced 68 new plays, including 23 world premieres. Adventurous audiences from 32 states and the District of Columbia and Canada have attended the Theater Festival’s productions. The plays are professionally produced using Actors' Equity Association's LORT D contract; CATF operates under agreements from AEA, United Scenic Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Reviews and articles have appeared in a variety of media venues including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, and the Chicago Tribune.[citation needed]

The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War[edit]

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.[3]

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 12 NCAA Division II teams including women's volleyball and lacrosse, and men's and women's basketball, soccer, and tennis. The Ram marching band, cheerleading squad, and dance team promote spirit at university home games. Home football and lacrosse games are played in Ram Stadium.

The soccer teams play in the newly built Shepherd Soccer Complex.

Shepherd is currently a member of the Mountain East Conference (MEC). Which was established In June 2012, when the football-playing schools of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), including Shepherd, announced plans to break away to form a new Division II conference. This disbanded the WVIAC.


The Ram baseball team has won the WVIAC Championship in 1983, 1984, 2004, 2009, and 2012.


The current head coach is Monte Cater, a 1971 graduate of Millikin University. Cater was appointed the program’s 12th head coach on February 9, 1987 and served as Shepherd’s director of athletics from 1993-2004. Shepherd’s all-time winningest football coach, Cater boasts a 190-87-1 (.685) record in 26 seasons as head coach of the Rams, and an overall record of 221-110-2 (.667) in 32 years as a head coach.[4]

The NAIA Years (pre 1994)[edit]

In 1983, Shepherd reached the post-season for the first time in school history, losing to Carson-Newman 42-21 in the first round of the NAIA playoffs.

The Rams again advanced to the playoffs in 1986 and again they lost to Carson-Newman 30-10 in the first round.

In 1991, they advanced and this time they lost to Central State 34-22 in the first round.

Finally in 1992, the Rams earned their first ever post-season win by beating Carson-Newman 6-3. In the next round, however, they lost to Gardner-Webb 22-7.

The NCAA DII Years (1994-present)[edit]

Year Record Rank
1994 6-4 T-1st
1995 3-7 5th
1996 7-3 3rd
1997 9-1 T-1st
1998 10-1 1st
1999 9-1 1st
2000 7-3 3rd
2001 8-2 T-2nd
2002 7-3 T-2nd
2003 4-6 T-2nd
2004 7-3 1st
2005 11-0 1st
2006 10-0 1st
2007 9-1 1st
2008 5-5 T-6th
2009 6-4 4th
2010 9-1 1st
2011 9-2 T-2nd
2012 8-2 1st
2013 10-0 1st
Postseason Success[edit]
Year First Round Second Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championship
1998 @ IUP, W 9-6 N/A @ Slippery Rock, L 20-31 N/A N/A
1999 @ Millersville, L 14-21 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2005 vs. CW Post, L 21-28 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2006 N/A vs. Merrimack, W 31-7 vs. Bloomsburg, L 21-24 N/A N/A
2007 N/A vs. IUP, W 41-34 @ California, L 38-58 N/A N/A
2010 vs. Shaw, W 40-6 @ Kutztown, W 41-34 @ Mercyhurst, W 48-14 @ Delta State, L 17-29 N/A
2012 @ IUP, L 17-27 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2013 N/A vs. Winston-Salem State, W 7-0 vs. West Chester, L 7-28 N/A N/A

NOTE: The NCAA expanded the playoff field from 16 to 24 teams in 2000.

Rams on the Next Level[edit]

The first (and so far only) Shepherd football player to be drafted was running back Wayne Wilson (1975–1979), being taken by the Houston Oilers in the 12th round of the 1979 NFL Draft (324th overall). He played for 3 teams over an 8 year career. Wilson is currently the tight ends coach at Shepherd.

Cornerback James Rooths (1997–2001) played for 4 NFL teams (Jets, Packers, Vikings, and Buccaneers) in 4 years and for two of those (2002–03) played for NFL Europe's Scottish Claymores where he set numerous records as a kick returner. After his playing career, Rooths was an assistant defensive backs coach for the Frankfurt Galaxy for the 2005 season. In 2010, he was an assistant football coach for Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Maryland. As of 2013, Rooths is part of the Baltimore Ravens strength and conditioning staff.

Former Ram quarterback Joel Gordon (1999–2003) played for a season with Arena Football League 2's Richmond Speed and two years with the Winterthur Warriors of the Swiss league, leading them to the championship in the SwissBowl in 2006. Gordon is currently the quarterbacks coach at Shepherd.

In 2005, former defensive end Ramal Faunteroy was signed by AFL2's Manchester Wolves. He started 23 regular season games and three playoff games for the Wolves before his career was cut short due to a shoulder injury. Faunteroy is currently the defensive line coach at Shepherd.

Although he was not selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, Shepherd punter Ricky Schmitt (2003–07) has played for 6 different NFL teams, most recently the Arizona Cardinals. He currently plays for the Canadian Football League's BC Lions.

In 2011, former Shepherd linebacker Louis Corum signed with the United Football League's Virginia Destroyers. Corum previously played for the Indoor Football League's now defunct Richmond Revolution after leaving Shepherd in 2009.

In March 2011, former Ram pitcher Charlie Gordon was signed by the Normal CornBelters of the independent Frontier League. He was then traded to the Sussex Skyhawks of the now defunct Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball

On April 24, 2012, former Ram tight end Dominique Jones was signed by the Indianapolis Colts. Jones also played for the United Football League's Sacramento Mountain Lions and the Indoor Football League's Reading Express after leaving Shepherd in 2011.[5]

On June 5, 2012, senior first baseman Nathan Minnich, the 2012 Tino Martinez Award winner,[6] became the first Shepherd baseball player to be drafted by being taken in the 8th round by the Boston Red Sox (271st overall).[7] Before leaving for Massachusetts, Minnich was honored at a Hagerstown Suns game in nearby Hagerstown. He was also honored at halftime of Shepherd's final football game of the 2012 season and became thus far the only Shepherd baseball player to have his jersey retired. He played for 2 seasons alternating between the GCL Red Sox and the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League. Minnich was released by the Red Sox on March 31, 2014.

On June 8, 2013, senior pitcher Josh McCauley became the second Shepherd baseball player to be drafted by being taken in the 21st round by the Chicago Cubs (618th overall).[8]

In late February 2014, senior linebacker Howard Jones had a stellar performance at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine[9] and has been projected as a 5th-7th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Jones, along with DE Robert Hayes, DT Mike Franklin, WR Robert Byrd, WR Trevor Turner, LB Dominique Dixon, and DL Xavier Tyler, are all hoping for a chance at the NFL.[10][11]


  1. ^ Shepherd University. Retrieved on 2011-07-02.
  2. ^ "Contemporary American Theater Festival". Retrieved 2010-08-017. 
  3. ^ The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War. Retrieved on 2011-07-02.
  4. ^ Coaching Staff. Retrieved on 2013-12-07.
  5. ^ Colts article on Jones' path to the NFL
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^

External links[edit]