Photo by Bill Arsenault
The Face of Northwestern
If you meet Sheppard “Shep” Shanley, you’ll never forget him.
And without a doubt he’ll remember you.
“It’s part of the gift that makes him a rock star in the admission world,” says Carrie Radovich (WCAS87), a Shanley recruit to Northwestern and longtime friend.
The son of two former faculty members — Lyndon and Barbara Smith Shanley (GSESP37), who met and married while teaching at Northwestern — Shanley is senior associate director of admission. He has spent 35 years as the face of the University, introducing thousands to Northwestern.
Radovich first met Shanley when she came to campus from south suburban Dolton, Ill., to deliver her application in 1983. At the recommendation of her sister, Joan Radovich (J84), Carrie called Shanley to arrange a last-minute informal interview.
“Of course he makes an impression immediately,” Radovich says, recalling the interview. “He asked me hard questions. And he has those really blue eyes. I remember him looking over at me and thinking, ‘He’s X-raying me. He’s giving me the third degree.’ But he’s such a likable man, and there’s always this container of kindness he holds you in. That’s a real gift.”
Today, alumni whom Shanley recruited to Northwestern return with children of their own. Penny Levin (WCAS77) brought both of her daughters to Northwestern, but when she first came in contact with Shanley in 1972, she came with a complaint. She had applied to the Honors Program in Medical Education but had been misinformed about the program’s admission requirements. She was upset and wrote to Shanley with her concerns.
He handled the issue with grace and dignity, sending a “lovely letter” assuring her that he would address the issue and “‘see to it that your application receives the attention it so richly deserves.’ It was so Shep,” Levin recalls.
“He’s got a style about him,” says Jim Andrews (J86, GJ87), who first met Shanley at a Northwestern information session at a hotel in Pittsburgh. “He was captivating to listen to.”
When Andrews moved into Willard Residential College in fall 1982, “it clicked,” he recalls. “He’s one of the people who really made me want to come here.”
Andrews lived in Willard for four years, including one year as president of the residential college, where Shanley spent six years as master and still serves as a faculty fellow. Andrews says Shanley had a unique relationship with students at Willard. “He was a calming voice of reason,” Andrews says. “It’s a fine line you have to walk with wanting students to like you but being respected and listened to. He effortlessly did that.” — S.H.