President Sheley with alumnus, Richard Ronten
It was a decidedly upbeat spirit that Joseph F. Sheley brought to the podium for his first presidential fall address to the Stanislaus State community in 2012.
It had to be upbeat. He was presenting ideas that leaders before him had chosen not to breach — concepts such as openly bragging about the greatness of Stan State, about making the University a center of learning and culture for the entire region, about making Stanislaus State a destination instead of a campus of last resort, about not only bridging but forging a bond between University and town, about mobilizing the more than 55,000 Stan State alumni.
Without the positive energy Sheley brought that afternoon, his vision could have fallen flat. Instead, as he leaves the campus to enter into retirement at the end of June, much of that vision either has been realized or is on its way to fruition.
As he leaves, the region’s business and civic leaders, as well as many from inside the University community, have taken the time to pay tribute to the leadership and friendship shown by Sheley and his wife Bernadette Halbrook. These tributes bear witness that the concepts introduced by Sheley upon his arrival four years ago have found their way into the region as hallmarks of the University.
Here are a few of the tributes:
“President Sheley has been the catalyst for our district’s heightened partnership with Stanislaus State. He is directly responsible for encouraging and creating new opportunities for our students and staff that have benefited TUSD and our entire Turlock community.”
— Dana Salles Trevethan, Superintendent, Turlock Unified School District.
"Dr. Sheley has proven that fundamental goodness, collaborative leadership, and vision can change the future and heal the past. It was my honor and distinct pleasure to work with Dr. Sheley on taking what was perceived an island to making Stanislaus State the crown jewel of the Turlock community. With the help of the City of Turlock and the Turlock Unified School District, President Sheley created long enduring partnerships that will benefit the state and the Turlock community for many years.”
— Sonny Da Marto, past Superintendent, Turlock Unified School District.
“Dr. Sheley has brought all entities of our community together; his work and vision have positioned us for building and achieving more on the path to college and career readiness — both of which will be mutually beneficial. Dr. Sheley is a consummate leader and professional…and one all of us should attempt to emulate.”
— Tom Changnon, Superintendent, Stanislaus County Office of Education.
“President Sheley’s reputation in the community is impeccable. Everywhere I go, people speak about his remarkable commitment to students and improving the lives of people in the Central Valley. He has definitely made a lasting impact on our school, our community, and our statewide CSU system.”
—Maggie White, Governmental Relations Coordinator, Associated Students., Inc.
“President Sheley, has been an incredible leader for Stanislaus State. He has established a culture of excellence not only between, faculty, staff and students but also with our Turlock community. He has brought honesty, integrity and respect to our campus. I am proud and honored to have worked under his leadership for the past four years.”
— Filomena Wojciechowski, Chair, Stanislaus State Staff Council
“President Sheley and Dr. Halbrook have made an incredibly positive impact in a short amount of time. They have established open communication between organizations and have enhanced (in a positive and caring way) the reputation of Stanislaus State. They have been a blessing that will be missed.”
— Pam Able, Superintendent, Modesto City Schools
“I have had the pleasure of knowing numerous Stanislaus State presidents over many years. I can easily state that no other president has put forth as much effort to reach out to the community and to students and alumni as much as Dr. Sheley. He listens to their concerns and most importantly is willing to incorporate their ideas into his action plan. His stay has been FAR too short.”
— Richard Ronten, University supporter, Fremont
“President Sheley changed the campus climate, refocusing the University on our mission of serving the students and community. He made coming to campus enjoyable again and reconnected the campus to the community.”
— Mark Grobner, Interim Dean, Stan State College of Science
“What a gift to our region it has been to have President Joe and Bernadette for the past few years. They unified and healed old wounds. They collaborated and worked in partnership with others striving to make both Stan State and our community stronger and better. We are so sad to lose you so soon but grateful we had you a little while.”
— Ron and Lynn Dickerson, University and community supporters, Modesto