Benerd Alumnus is Appointed President of Pittsburg State University
In mid-2022, Benerd alumnus Daniel Shipp was appointed tenth president of Pittsburg State University (PSU). PSU is a public university in Kansas that hosts the NCAA Div II’s winningest football program and where the school’s applied learning motto is “By doing, learn.”
Benerd College aims to develop human potential by providing transformative learning experiences. When Shipp graduated from Benerd in 2010 with his doctorate in Educational Leadership & Administration, he showed his leadership competency, professional maturity and personal discipline. Programs at Benerd are designed to help graduates grow as leaders and adopt skills that can help them effectively lead.
In 2006, Shipp had just completed a $50 million recreation complex for the University of Missouri when former President DeRosa approached him about a new project, the DeRosa University Center. Shipp saw the opportunity to grow and become a better leader at Pacific and accepted the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life.
“I loved my Pacific experience as both a student and professional in Student Life. I will be forever grateful to President DeRosa, Elizabeth Griego and Joanna Royce-Davis for allowing me the opportunity to learn and contribute to building a national model for student life. From developing the One Word Project to the MOVE program, our faculty, staff and students really created a unique educational experience for the students.”
After delaying his goal of obtaining a doctorate for eight years, Shipp knew the only way to move forward in his career was to accomplish that goal. Shipp was attracted to Benerd because of the theoretical-methodological skills he’d learn and the close relationship Benerd faculty developed with their students.
“My favorite class was Statistics with Dr. Rachelle Hackett. In reflection, I probably wasn’t her best student, but I found her genius both engaging and inspirational. It was interesting how she could make high-level statistics applicable to the things I was already doing as an educational professional.”
While at Pacific, Shipp was involved with numerous student-led initiatives that still exist to this day. He assisted student Fiona Nicole Lytle ’17 in developing the Ted & Chris Robb Garden. Today, the Robb Garden is managed by the Pacific Garden Program. It makes efforts toward bringing generations together as responsible consumers of food and nature. Currently, the Robb Garden is managed by Janice Setser, Garden Coordinator.
Since its inception, the Robb Garden has served as a place of learning and perpetual change. This past year, the Robb Garden provided over 500 pounds of produce to Pacific students, including over 60 varieties of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Over 250 people in the Pacific community have engaged with the garden through markets, volunteer days, classes, events or drop-ins. With over 50 volunteers, including Amazon employees, the Black and Brown Student Association, Pacific staff, Greek life and more, the Robb Garden has effectively educated the community on the importance of food production.
In 2008, Theo Nishamura ’11 asked Shipp for help creating a program using black and white photography to highlight diversity and inclusion. The project became Pacific’s One-Word Project. Today, the project is managed by the Associated Students of the University of the Pacific and returns every year for Pacifican participation.
Participants in the One Word Project select a single word that represents their ideal selves and explain why they chose that word on a piece of paper. After their self-reflection, participants have their photos taken in black and white. At the end of the campaign, One Word Project staff select pictures to be displayed in the DeRosa University Center. Since its inception, the One Word Project has accumulated over 4,000 photos of Pacificans, including staff, faculty, students and regents.
After graduating from Benerd College in 2010 with his doctorate in Educational Leadership & Administration, Shipp took the next steps in his career as Vice Chancellor at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) and its Medical Center. Daniel appointed Pacific alumnus Kristina Marie Cammarano ‘14 to Assistant Vice Chancellor after hiring her as a graduate assistant at Pacific and Harnoor Singh ‘07. Cammarano is now the VP of Midland College and earning her doctorate from the University of Omaha Lincoln. Singh is the Director of Student Development for the Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship Program at the University of Nebraska and is finishing his doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
On June 6, 2022, Shipp began his appointment as the 10th president of Pittsburg State University. He succeeds former PSU President Steve Scott.