Written by Hannah Guanti
On October 27, Roanoke College hosted an event that has only occurred eleven other times in the college’s 181 years, inaugurating Frank Shushok Jr. as the twelfth president. The day officially welcomed President Shushok, celebrated the institution’s achievements over the years, and collectively set the campus’ sights on the exciting new chapter.
The festivities began with a prayer service in Antrim Chapel and campus tours for those visiting campus. These and all events were open to all faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local community members.
The installation ceremony followed in the Morris M. Cregger Center arena, with live streaming for those who could not attend in person. Alumni worldwide were invited to tune in to celebrate the new chapter of the college’s history.
The ceremony started with a procession including faculty, staff, and community members. Followed by students from different campus organizations including student leadership, members of the armed services and veterans, sports teams, greek life, international students, and others who walked together and symbolically united the college.
The ceremony brought words of wisdom and praises of President Shushok from far and wide. Including alumni, representatives of the commonwealth’s government, religious leaders, educators, trustees, the head of the board, and even Shushok’s college roommate. The speakers shared not only their hopes for President Shushok but also the goals of the college and the achievements to come. Shushok ended the ceremony with a speech, sharing his personal aspirations for himself and the college and shared insight for current students.
While this is his first role as a president, Shushok brings with him 30 years of experience in higher education. Previously, he served as vice president of student affairs at Virginia Tech where he oversaw one of the nation’s largest student affairs programs and contributed immensely to overall campus improvement.
A few of Shushok’s many actions while at Virginia Tech and his alma mater- Baylor, include bringing in millions of dollars in donations, writing several in-depth studies, and leading a coalition that addressed a systemic issue of racial residence hall segregation.
Shushok was joined not only by the Roanoke community but also his family, First Lady Rev. Kelly Shushok, and their three children.