FAIRBORN — Dr. Cheryl Shrader was at home one Friday evening when Wright State University Board of Trustees officials rang her phone to let her know that she was selected as the next individual to lead the college.
“Their voices carried excitement, this tremendous enthusiasm for having the opportunity to work together,” she said.
Between then and her first day on the job July 1, she’s been busy meeting with Wright State personnel and board members, navigating the linguistics of a residential move and getting to know the faculty senate. She was aiming to get to know the college as much as she could in order to decide on her first focuses as the new president and gain an understanding on how to get there.
Wright State celebrates 50 years of operating this year. But determining the direction of the following 50 years for the college isn’t completely up to her because “it’s the people of this institution who will make that vision,” she said.
“We’re going to be talking a lot about our vision and moving into strategic planning,” Schrader said. “But grappling first with what is that vision, mission, shared values and how are we going to get to that vision.”
“I do know that Wright State University is a strong, metropolitan research university that I think is poised to move forward to the next level,” she added.
Schrader participated in the City of Fairborn’s Fourth of July parade, which served as an introduction to the community, as well as a number of legislators and Greene County leaders. From her spot on the parade route, she could hear individuals in the crowd saying things such as “I am a graduate,” or to their children: “that’s the president of the college you’re going to attend,” which served as an opportunity for her to see first-hand the influence Wright State has over the area.
“It was wonderful to know that on every street, you saw the impact of Wright State University,” Schrader said.
She is trained as an engineer and has specifically researched aerospace aviation and bio-medical systems while creating partnerships along the way for the purposes of research. Her background belongs to STEM and includes bringing diverse groups together for a common goal. While she was attracted to Wright State’s partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and understands the need for STEM in the workforce, she also appreciates Wright State’s nationally recognized artistic programs.
“What I found most attractive is there are areas of excellence from the entire spectrum — from cyber security to top, nationally recognized performing arts — that creativity, scholarship, creative works happens all across,” Schrader said. “That really strengthens Wright State University because it is a very comprehensive approach to innovation. All of those components are richer because they’re located together at one institution.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.