Senior associate director of admission F. Sheppard Shanley to retire after helping recruit 50 classes of students


Senior associate director of admission F. Sheppard Shanley stands between Carrie Radovich (Weinberg ‘87), on the left, and Stacey Lauren (Communication ‘87), on the right, at a recent reunion for the class of ‘87. Over the years, Shanley has kept in contact with many students, many of whom are now alumni.

Vivian Xia, Reporter

When Senior Associate Director of Admission F. Sheppard Shanley first decided to take a job in the Northwestern Office of Undergraduate Admission, he had been a high school teacher for four years and wanted to try out a job besides teaching. Little did he know, he would go on to help recruit and enroll 50 classes of students at Northwestern.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful to meet so many students, and a number of them I became friends with and knew them at least while they were here,” Shanley said. “But some have stayed friends for many, many years and we are still in regular contact.”

Shanley was born and raised in Evanston, as his parents were Northwestern faculty members. Shanley Hall was named after his father J. Lyndon Shanley, who taught English literature at the University.

Shanley attended Evanston Township High School and got his bachelor’s degree from Princeton and a master’s degree in teaching from Harvard.

Shanley said as he was growing up, he thought he would leave the Chicago area and live somewhere else. However, after he started working in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, he said he came to like the environment very much and grew to have friends in the area.

“It was very good just to stay,” Shanley said. “To be honest, there was never a reason to leave.”

After helping admit 50 classes of students, Shanley is retiring from his job in the Northwestern Office of Undergraduate Admission. Shanley said he finally decided to retire because 50 classes of students seemed like a good stopping point.

“I was at retirement age quite a number of years ago,” Shanley said. “I kind of thought that the year that I helped recruit and enroll the 50th class seems like a good time to say, ‘This has been a wonderful run, a great experience.’”

Shanley added that it would be better for him to step away now before he starts making mistakes, though he noted nothing bad has happened yet.

Former Dean of Undergraduate Admission Carol Lunkenheimer worked with Shanley for 30 years total and said that he was “very reliable” as an employee and loved his job.

“I used him often for advice because he was there before I got there, and he was there after I retired,” Lunkenheimer said. “But the whole time I was there, it was wonderful to have somebody with a history (with Northwestern).”

Lunkenheimer also described Shanley as a very caring person who was very interested in the lives of students.

Shanley served not only as the senior associate director of admission, but also as the faculty leader of Willard Residential College. He held that position for six years during his time at Northwestern.

Adjunct lecturer at the School of Professional Studies Jim Andrews (Medill ‘86) was the president of Willard for the 1984-1985 academic year. Andrews said he was impressed at how involved Shanley was with the students at Willard.

“I remember specifically, he would invite the freshmen from each floor of Willard to his apartment in Evanston for brunch in Fall Quarter, which kind of shocked me,” Andrews said. “He did that year after year with all these different groups of freshmen.”

Andrews lived in Willard all four years and added that Shanley was definitely part of his decision to stay in Willard rather than move off campus.

Andrews said he initially met Shanley in high school when Shanley and one of his colleagues came to Andrews’ hometown to give an information session on Northwestern. Andrews said Shanley and his colleague’s enthusiasm and friendliness definitely “solidified” Northwestern as his number one choice for colleges.

Jim Karr (Weinberg ‘82) said he also met Shanley in high school when Shanley interviewed Karr on campus. Karr said Shanley was a very “kind and engaging” interviewer and that Shanley is a “leading ambassador” for Northwestern.

“Shep is often the first person people see before they’re even students,” Karr said. “And as such, he becomes the conduit to the University and arguably has seen more students than anyone else in the history of the University.”

Shanley said he is looking into different ways to spend his retirement, such as joining a singing chorus or helping with visitors at the Alumni Center, but said he will likely try to stay involved with the University.

“Shep is so connected to the school and is so connected to people and wanting to be around people and loving the school atmosphere and likes being around his colleagues and likes the daily association with the colleagues and the school that it’s not the easiest thing to step away,” Karr said. “It’s such a big part of his life.”

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