WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — After serving Midwestern State University for the last six years, Dr. Suzanne Shipley said it’s time for someone new and ‘vibrant’ to lead the university.
Shipley’s retirement took many, including MSU staff, by surprise and while Shipley admits she wishes she could’ve made the announcement sooner she believes now is the time.
“I’m ready to end my career as college president and become something else,” Shipley said.
As MSU Texas prepares to merge with the Texas-Tech University System, it will be without Shipley, who will be retiring on August 31.
“We are poised on this big transition to Texas Tech and when I stepped aside and looked at the situation, it looked like the absolute best time for a new leader and I thought Midwestern could attract a really excited, vibrant person to the position,” Shipley said.
“When you start a merger like this you’re basically meeting a whole new set of people and you’re getting to know a whole new way of governing an institution and while I would find that fascinating and interesting, I think it’s a bit wasteful to get Tech to get used to me knowing that I would retire soon.”
Shipley not only impacted people’s lives on campus but in the community as a whole.
Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce President Henry Florsheim said he is saddened by this decision.
“It’s not easy to take over after a long-time leader has been in a place like Dr. Rogers had been. So to have somebody come in and immediately make connections with the students and to be a real leader and convener around the community not just on campus, that’s gonna be missed,” Florsheim said.
And when the community saw difficult times like the death of MSU football player Robert Grays, Shipley said she’ll cherish those moments.
“When Robert Gray’s parents had the courage to come back to the field where he was injured and ultimately died and accept our accolades and our love for him, that was one of my hardest moments and a moment I will absolutely never forget,” Shipley said.
She does admit to leaving MSU with one regret.
“The only thing we don’t have that I wanted was a football stadium and I’m gonna leave it to all of you to make that happen. we can do it and the city needs it,” Shipley said. “Maybe in the next three months, someone will step up and say let’s build that stadium for Dr. Shipley before she goes, we created a lot of excitement around it but the time was not right to make it happen.”
As she gears up to leave this role behind, Shipley said she is looking forward for what’s ahead.
Dr. Shipley said she’s been thinking about retiring since before the new year as for what’s next for her.
She is moving to Arizona with her husband and we may be seeing some novels from her in the future.