61 minutes | Jun 9, 2021

Reimagining the University of Lynchburg and Building Partnerships with Lynchburg with President Alison Morrison-Shetlar

Reimagining the University of Lynchburg and Building Partnerships with Lynchburg with President Alison Morrison-ShetlarPresident Alison Morrison-Shetlar describes herself as a “servant leader.” She is the first person born outside the U.S. and the first woman to serve as the University of Lynchburg’s president. Her term began in August 2020.As the COVID-19 pandemic started to take hold in the U.S., the then-president-elect launched a fledgling effort to sew cloth face masks for the University community. The initiative, which she called “Sewcial Hornets,” eventually involved more than 360 “voluntailors” — students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends of the University — who made over 8,500 masks.President Alison, as she likes to be called, spent her first official day in office serving the greater Lynchburg community at Building Our Community Together, an event that brings together area universities, nonprofits, and other groups. In partnership with her favorite nonprofit, Samaritan’s Feet International, and the University’s Master of Nonprofit Leadership Studies program, she handed out free shoes and socks to about 400 local children.Raised on the Scottish Isle of Bute, President Alison says she was “just an average kid.” Her father was the county clerk, her mother was a homemaker. At Rothesay Academy, she played basketball and field hockey and competed on the track and field team in the high jump, long jump, and 100-meter dash. At age 18, she left home for Dundee College of Technology — now Abertay University — where she earned a Bachelor of Science, with honors, in biology and chemistry, and a PhD in biomedical sciences.As a first-generation college student, she originally wanted to be-come a laboratory technician and get an associate degree. Dundee’s president encouraged her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry instead. She graduated second in her class.She went on to do postdoctoral research at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London, then became chair of the molecular biology unit at the Max Planck Institute in Dortmund, Germany, and a teach- er-scholar at Bochum University in Bochum, Germany.In 1993, she followed her husband, Robert Shetlar, to the U.S., where he had a postdoctoral position in Connecticut. Over the next 20 years, she held teaching, research, and administrative positions
at colleges and universities in Maine, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. Most recently, she served as interim chancellor at Western Carolina University.On their first day in the office at Lynchburg, President Alison and her husband, the “first gentleman,” announced a new endowed scholarship to support student success.They also adopted a “first dog,” black Lab puppy Molly, who will accompany them as they hike the campus trails and in the Blue Ridge Mountains.Meanwhile, President Alison is working with the campus community and city partners on three University pillars: leadership development; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and innovation and collaboration.
The latter includes a think tank and research hub for the Lynchburg community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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