Craig K. Swavely Memorial Scholarship Fund

A father’s love and loyalty

Gene Swavely, a combat veteran of World War II and Bronze Star recipient, led a simple life. He worked for a dairy in Reading delivering milk to homes and schools.  He and his wife Peggy lived in a modest home in the Reading area.  Together they had one son, Craig.

Craig Swavely graduated from Shippensburg State College in 1976 with a degree in business.  Nine years later, he  passed away from a brain aneurism while participating in a 10k race. He was only 30 years old. His Shippensburg friends created the Craig K. Swavely Memorial Scholarship Fund, involving his father at every step.

Gene wanted to see his son’s scholarship fund grow, but being of modest means, he had to find a way to support the fund.  He decided to collect aluminum cans and even had a small group of friends helping him. He gave the money he earned from collecting cans his son’s scholarship fund through the SU Foundation.

Gene collected cans for over 30 years. At the age of 93, he had to stop collecting cans when he sold his home and entered an assisted living community. At the 2019 SU Foundation scholarship dinner, Gene was able to meet Natalie Rodriguez, the current recipient of the Craig K. Swavely Memorial Scholarship at that time. Natalie graduated in 2020 and hopes to make an impact as a teacher in an inner-city school.

Make a gift to the Craig K. Swavely Memorial Scholarship

Amanda K. Strous Memorial Field Hockey Scholarship

This scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Amanda Strous, who was a beloved member of the Shippensburg University Field Hockey team, first as a player and later as an assistant coach.  Amanda Strous played field hockey at Shippensburg from 2007-2010, graduating in the spring of 2011 with a bachelor of science in psychology and a minor in art. She was a forward who played in 79 games for the Raiders, totaling 24 goals and 13 assists for 61 career points.
As a senior in 2010, a season in which Shippensburg competed in the NCAA Division II National Championship game, Amanda served as a team captain and had a career year.  She totaled 11 goals and five assists.
After spending her first year after graduation as an assistant coach at Hamilton College N.Y., Amanda returned to her alma mater in the fall of2012 – beginning a three-year run as an assistant coach on the Field Hockey team, while studying for her master’s degree.
In 2013, Amanda was the primary assistant on the Shippensburg squad that won its first ­ever NCAA Division II National Championship.  Two years later, she earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Shippensburg.
While she was earning her master’s degree, Amanda was a master’s level intern in the University Counseling Center.  She was admired and deeply appreciated for her work as a counseling trainee and was considered to be a truly dedicated professional who loved her work. Her clients benefitted from her emotional presence and concern for their well­ being.
Field Hockey was Amanda’s passion and a guiding force in her life. It was not just the sport, but the bonds that were formed and the family it became. It was more than just being an athlete; it was the life lessons she learned as a student-athlete that she applied to work as an assistant coach and student counselor.
Though her own life was short, Amanda immeasurably touched the lives of many people. With this scholarship, Amanda’s love of the sport, her team spirit, generosity, desire to help others and largeness of heart will live on in perpetuity.

Make a gift to the Amanda K. Strous Memorial Scholarship

Zachary Topper Memorial Football Scholarship Fund

Zachary J. Topper graduated from South Western High School in Hanover, Pennsylvania, in 1994. He was the captain of the football team his senior year and led the team to league and city championships. The York Daily Record, York Dispatch, and The Evening Sun newspapers selected him to All-Conference, League, and City Teams. Zack still holds South Western football records for most quarterback sacks in a season (16) and in a career (23).

Zachary matriculated to Shippensburg University following his graduation from South Western. While earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, he was a member of the Shippensburg University football team. Zack played for three years as a defensive linebacker and, due to a brain tumor, was with the team as a student assistant/coach during his fourth year of eligibility. He graduated as a member of the Class of 1998.

Zachary embodied the characteristics of the finest student athletes: courageous, both on and off the field; loyal as a friend, with a quick-witted sense of humor; determined to succeed no matter what the barriers; and passionate about living a meaningful life. His family and friends establish this scholarship fund in his memory. Through the awarding of scholarships made possible by this fund, Zack’s numerous positive traits and the uplifting spirit that he shared with others, both on and beyond the Shippensburg University campus, will live on forever.

Make a gift to the Zachary Topper Memorial Football Scholarship Fund

LTC Todd M. Wheeler Memorial ROTC Scholarship

Harry and Peggy Wheeler ’72 were on a fishing trip in Canada in August 2019 when they received a shocking phone call. Harry’s oldest son, Todd ’86, had died suddenly at age 55.  The couple had the long car drive home to talk about Todd, his remarkable life, and how they might honor his legacy. “He believed in, and lived, a life of service beyond self,” Harry said. “We wanted to continue that legacy of service.”

Harry and Peggy had previously established a scholarship in memory of Harry’s first wife, Brenda, who died in 2008. Her scholarship supports teacher education students at Shippensburg University where she taught for 30 years.

“Our first idea was to add to Brenda’s scholarship,” Peggy recounted, “but after thinking more about it, Harry decided that Todd deserved his own scholarship.”

“Establishing a scholarship in a person’s memory is a way to keep their legacy alive,” Harry said. “It also helps with the healing process to know that you are helping others.”

Like many in the extended family, Todd attended Shippensburg University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 1986. During his senior year, he was the US Army ROTC Cadet Battalion Commander. Todd then made the US Army his career, retiring as Lieutenant Colonel with more than 33 years of uniformed and civilian government experience.

In honor of that service, the LTC Todd M. Wheeler Memorial ROTC Scholarship will be awarded to an incoming full-time student enrolled in the ROTC program in 2021. “Todd truly left the world a better place than he found it,” Harry said, “and we hope the recipient of this scholarship will do the same.”
In addition to his military service, Todd volunteered at his church in Newville, serving in multiple leadership and teaching positions. He was also an Eagle Scout mentor, having earned this award from the Boy Scouts of America in 1980. “Todd’s loss will be felt throughout the communities he served,” Peggy said.
When their family members gathered for Christmas last year, Harry and Peggy shared that they had established a scholarship in Todd’s memory and suggested that for future Christmases, they could make a contribution to the scholarship instead of giving them gifts.

Make a gift to the LTC Todd M. Wheeler Memorial ROTC Scholarship


Edward Christian Ruth Memorial Scholarship

Edward Ruth was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, but grew up in the small town of Schellsburg in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Ed’s identity as a kind-hearted, accepting, empathetic person, and tirelessly hard worker was representative of where he grew up. His education at Shippensburg University offered him the opportunity to grow personally and set him on a path to success that he found later in life as a certified financial advisor.

At Shippensburg, Ed was an active member of Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity. He was an avid basketball player and tireless competitor in everything he did. One thing was a given with Ed—no one would ever outwork him. Though he never returned to live in Bedford County after graduating from Shippensburg University in 2000, he credited his family, faith, and hometown for who he became as a person.

Ed was loved by all and impacted many lives before his sudden passing on October 19, 2020, at age 43. His care and support for his family was unparalleled. He gave the greatest gifts to all that knew him, whether it was a gift of his time, his heart, or birthday and Christmas gifts to his niece and nephew. Now his family and friends have come together to establish this scholarship in his memory which will provide Bedford County students with an opportunity to find success and themselves through an education at Shippensburg University.

The Edward Christian Ruth Memorial Scholarship was awarded for the first time for the fall of 2021 to student from Bedford County.

Make a gift to the Edward Christian Ruth Memorial Scholarship