About: Shirley Hershey Showalter
Farmer’s daughter turned college professor, then college president, later foundation executive. She has published articles in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Christian Century and many others. Writing a memoir about growing up Mennonite in America, 1948-1966. Seeking others who read, write, and teach nonfiction/memoir. Goal: read and review 100 memoirs!
Professional Short Bio:
Shirley H. Showalter is writing her memoir under contract to Herald Press and living in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The book is due to be published sometime in 2013. Stay tuned for launch date. Her memoir focuses on her childhood in Lancaster County, PA. Growing up in a house with a history, a church with a distrust of the world, and a family of Swiss-German farmers stretching back ten generations, Shirley sought to understand the strange and often contradictory stories around her while she struggled to create her own story.
She also coaches professionals in transition. Possible clients can reach her at shirley.showalter (at) gmail.com.
In her previous life . . .
Returning to Harrisonburg, VA, in December, 2010, was a kind of homecoming, one that she described in this post. Shirley graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 1970 and taught English at Harrisonburg High School.
In 1972 she entered graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, from which she received the Ph.D. in American Civilization in 1980. She joined the Goshen College faculty in 1976, becoming professor of English in 1989. She published numerous articles and personal essays, not only in her field of early twentieth century American literature but also in spirituality, higher education, and leadership. She also won the Sears Roebuck Teaching Excellence and Community Leadership Award.
In April of 1996 Showalter was named the 14th president of Goshen College and served there until 2004. During those years she was awarded the John S. and James L. Knight Presidential Leadership Award and other honors. The school’s endowment grew from $46 million to $90 million, several new buildings were erected, including a $24 million music center, now one of the finest of its size in the Midwest, and the college established core values and a strategic plan for the next decade.
On November 1, 2004, Showalter joined the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, as Vice President-Programs. She helped the Institute organize its staff and program around three areas: individual and community transformation, science and spirituality, and communication and outreach.
Her interest in memoir writing was stimulated in part by the mission of the Fetzer Institute: “To foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community.” Turning 60 during the summer of 2008 helped, too! This blog was set up in WordPress by her son Anthony, who can be found online at http://www.ashowalter.com