Harrisburg, PA (December 19, 2018) - On Saturday, December 15, PSECU Vice President of Marketing and Membership Development Barbara J. Bowker served as the guest speaker at Shippensburg University's Winter 2018 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. A 1982 alumna, Bowker used her address to offer poignant advice to the approximately 300 graduating seniors on how to find their career passion and maximize the fulfillment it brings.
"We were honored to have Barb, a graduate who embodies the quality of the Shippensburg University experience through her professional accomplishments and character, deliver words of inspiration to our class of 2019," said Shippensburg University President Laurie A. Carter.
"It was a real honor to be asked to speak at a Shippensburg University commencement ceremony. Because I'm a Shippensburg graduate myself, the university holds a very special place in my heart - as does my alumni family there," said Bowker about the experience. "To be able to contribute in some small way to such an important day in the lives of others means so much to me. As a fellow Raider, I wish the graduates all the best as they start their next chapter."
To help students start off well on that next phase, Bowker presented S.H.I.P. as a mnemonic device to make her career-building message memorable as they leave the classroom and enter the workforce. In the speech, presented in front of the event's nearly 1,500 attendees, S.H.I.P. stood for servant-leadership, honesty, integrity, and perseverance - all important traits to finding lasting fulfillment in one's efforts, according to Bowker.
"Around graduation, students have a lot on their mind. A whole new world is opening up to them, and they are bracing themselves for big life changes. I understand that - I was in the same Heiges Field House graduation seats as them at one time - so I wanted to use this speech as an opportunity to help them out as much as I could. I aimed to share some of the important lessons I've learned over the years and do it in a way that would be simple and easy to remember," said Bowker. "I asked them to think S.H.I.P., because our alma mater is something that will always be a part of us. I then tried to provide context and background stories to demonstrate why servant-leadership, honesty, integrity, and perseverance are essential to true success."
In this PSECU Blog Q&A, Bowker talks more about what it meant to her to give a Shippensburg University commencement address. It also provides insights from her time at the podium.
In her current role, Bowker oversees the marketing and communication efforts for PSECU, Pennsylvania's largest credit union, and devises strategies to position it strongly in the marketplace. She also leads the organization's membership development efforts, which include both University Development and Business Development components.
Supported by the credit union "people helping people" philosophy, Bowker's more than 30-year career at PSECU has afforded her the opportunity to become very involved in the community, and she has often put into action the servant-leadership lessons from her 2012 Leadership Harrisburg Area Community Leadership Class. She is past chair of the Capital Region American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and serves as first vice chair of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Board as well as chair of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Foundation. She serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County. In addition, she is a member of the CUNA Creating Awareness Group and the Credit Union Executive Society (CUES), is a 2014 recipient of the YWCA's Women of Excellence Award, and was presented with the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal's Woman of Influence Award in 2015.
The Shippensburg University Fall 2018 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony was livestreamed on the university's website. An archived copy of the video is available here.