Gina Shipley-HSU Doctor of Leadership

"Our program faculty is faithful and faith-filled, and it means a lot to me to know that they are praying for my success."

As I started researching doctoral programs, it was somewhat serendipitous that my journey brought me to Dr. Mary Christopher’s office in the fall of 2014. After my initial visit with Dr. Christopher, I knew I had found my doctoral home at Hardin-Simmons. Every door along my path was opening here. Every step of the way, Dr. Christopher was there for me, and I knew she cared about me as a person more than she cared about my application.

I met the others in my cohort during orientation, and I didn’t know anyone else besides Dr. Christopher. I had heard people talk about how we would become a family and I wondered how we would do that. Dr. Brewer spoke to us about the importance of our commitment and dedication to the program and each other, and told us we were entering “air that was rare.” I will remember that comment for the rest of my life because at that moment I realized how profound the nature of this program is. Dr. Rozeboom spoke to us about perspective, and the importance of viewing issues critically and creatively, from multiple perspectives. He encouraged us to be open to that growth during our studies.

Our cohort is a diverse group of individuals, with different backgrounds and interests, yet we all have come together as a family. We continually encourage each other and support each other, and I cannot imagine walking this journey with any others. I know that God brought each of us together for a reason.

For me, it is important to integrate my faith seamlessly throughout my life. Faith is not separate from work or education—it’s the foundation for my life. Our program faculty is faithful and faith-filled, and it means a lot to me to know that they are praying for my success. I know that I am not just a number to them.

During my time here, I have experienced a continuous and gradual deepening of my love for Hardin-Simmons. There has not been one defining moment for me, as there have been many defining moments. Hardin-Simmons is a family of families. HSU provides the tools for students to go out and impact the world in a positive way.