Professor of the College Carol Scheppard

More than Two Decades of Encouraging Students to Think “Why Not?”

Professor+of+Philosophy+and+Religion%2C+Carol+Scheppard%2C+has+taught+at+Bridgewater+College+since+1998.+In+2016%2C+Scheppard+was+named+Professor+of+the+College.

Photo by Jackie Letaiugyang

Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Carol Scheppard, has taught at Bridgewater College since 1998. In 2016, Scheppard was named Professor of the College.

Jackie Letaiugyang, Staff Writer

Bridgewater Va.- Between arriving in the Shenandoah Valley as a pastorate intern to becoming Professor of the College, Carol Scheppard has had a distinguished professional career and shared her passions with hundreds of students.

“My biggest hope is that students have experiences at Bridgewater College that allow them to dream bigger,” said Scheppard. “I think that’s what we’re here for. To dream bigger. To think ‘why not?’ To get started and follow a trajectory because you have passion for it.”

Scheppard was born and raised in Thomaston, Connecticut. She went to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where she completed a bachelor of arts in anthropology. She then took a job at Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts, where she worked with children with learning disabilities. 

After ten years of working in special education, Scheppard decided to go back to school. In 1989, she went to Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey where she earned her Masters in Divinity. While there, she picked up a pastorate internship to work at Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Virginia. 

“That was my first introduction to the Shenandoah Valley,” said Scheppard. “I had never been here before or even knew much about it,” she said. 

After seminar school, Scheppard realized she did not want to be a minister so she decided to go to graduate school. She enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she studied medieval Christianity. 

After completing her doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, she did a nationwide search for jobs, and in 1998, she moved to the Shenandoah Valley and began teaching at Bridgewater in philosophy and religion. 

“What I liked about Bridgewater was that it was a liberal arts focus with a heavy emphasis on teaching and it reminded me of the real dedication to teaching at Landmark School,” Scheppard said.  

From the year 2007 to 2016, Scheppard was the vice president and dean for academic affairs. She was awarded the position of professor of the College in 2016 by President David Bushman.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Leona Sevick explained professor of the College is a “position of honor given by the president to a long-term serving faculty who has done so in a significant way.”

In 2017, Scheppard was elected as the moderator for the Church of the Brethren and was granted a year sabbatical by Bushman. 

Now Scheppard is teaching classes such as medieval European history, history of the Christian churches, Biblical themes in literature and the first-year-student’s FILA seminar with a topic of pandemics.

Scheppard wants students “to feel confident in an atmosphere where you may not know everyone but you are curious and you’re able to engage people in interesting conversation in ways that open opportunities for you. Maybe you don’t know what the other people know, but you know enough to ask questions and to learn something.”  

She has seen a lot of changes since arriving on campus 22 years ago. 

“I really love the way we’ve repurposed existing buildings and rather than tearing things down and building completely new things that we have found creative ways to expand the resources we already have,” said Scheppard. “It’s a great way to care for and show respect for what we had but also to boost things up and think about what we can offer students.”

Aside from teaching classes at Bridgewater College, Scheppard enjoys taking care of her farm animals and pets, playing the piano and bagpipe and engaging in activities with her church community at Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mt. Sidney, Virginia.