Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 29, 2017

Fawbush, Shanon

Shanon Fawbush, director of Student Activities and Orientation and advisor for several on-campus clubs and organizations, leaves behind a legacy at Manchester.

Photo courtesy of MU Marketing Department 


Fawbush Leaves Behind Legacy of Leadership

Kylie Kroger

On Friday, Sept. 22, after most faculty and staff had left for the day, Shanon Fawbush was still working. The director of Student Activities and Orientation had the annual faculty/staff vs. students softball game to supervise and then it was on to another MAC event, her trademark blond curls bouncing as she cheerfully left the dugout with her student employees.

It looked like another night at the office, with little to indicate that this was, after over 11 years, Fawbush’s last day at MU.

Fawbush has been a leader and mentor to students on campus for years as director of Student Orientation and her hands-on involvement with activities on campus such as Manchester Activities Council (MAC), Student Senate and countless other clubs. "I remember being so scared coming to Manchester my first year,” said Tate Wooding, Student Senate president. “I was so comforted when I actually came to Manchester, because my SOLs [Student Orientation Leaders] were so welcoming. It was great to be on the other side this year. Shanon does such a great job in organizing the whole week.”

Fawbush graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor’s in psychology and a Master’s in guidance and counseling. After getting a chance to work with young adults, she knew she had found her niche. "It was, and continues to be, very important to me to have the opportunity to mentor, teach, lead, shape and care for our youth," Fawbush said.  

Without a shred of doubt, Fawbush believes the students she has gotten a chance to work with over the years have been what made her time at Manchester so extraordinary. "I would like to think that I have taught them a lot, but the reality is that they have taught me and given me so much more than I could ever give to them," she said.  

In addition to being a dedicated leader in the Manchester community, Fawbush has acted as a mentor to many of the students she has worked with throughout the years. "Shanon has honestly been like a second mother to me at Manchester,” said junior Storm Shortt. “I have a strong feeling that hundreds of other students can attest to feeling the same way I do. She was always there to not only give advice, but to listen to any problem that you had. She always found time to help, regardless of how busy she was.”

And Fawbush is appreciative of her students and their ability to serve the Manchester community. "The members of MAC sacrifice so much of their time, and their weekends, so that their peers can have a good time," she said. “That has always touched my heart deeply.” 

Indeed, current students recognize that someone like Fawbush is a rare find, and her absence on campus will be evident. "She left a legacy at Manchester,” said senior Riley McCrea. “Shanon Fawbush is Manchester University and she always be.”

Sophomore MiKayla Duzan agreed. "I'm going to miss everything about Shanon, but especially her smile and heart," she said. “She was always there to greet me with a smile anytime I saw her, and oftentimes had a kind compliment to go with it. I will miss having her here to brighten everyone's day."  

When alums heard of Fawbush's departure, they were quick to share their fond memories of her.

“I remember the first time I met her I was so nervous because I found out she had watched the web show Jeremiah Sanders and I put on YouTube," said Joseph Myers, '14. “Sam Alley said her boss watched the show and wanted to meet us and all we could think was ‘Oh shoot; we made her mad.’ Once we met Shanon though, we made it a point to go to the SAC and visit her on the daily. Her laugh is infectious, her spirit is pure gold, and her compassion for students, her son, and her work is not easily found in others.”

Miro Arguijo ’14 said: “I could not have imagined that my decision to attend MU would be paired with finding someone who would push me, and believe in me more than I did myself. Not only has Shanon become my mentor, boss, and confidant—she has also become a life-long friend.”

Hannah Schutter ’15 recalls how Fawbush dispelled her nerves on her first day of SOL training. “The minute Shanon began to speak to us all, something clicked within me," she said. “She was personable but professional. She was charismatic and made everyone feel cared for and appreciated. She was passionate about her job, and her positive energy rubbed off on everyone. She created an atmosphere in which everyone could be themselves and everyone would become friends.

“As I sit here in my new office (I recently became the director of Student Life at a private school right outside of Chicago),” Schutter continued, “I realize I would not be where I am had I not met Shanon. Not only is she in tons of my cherished college memories but she is the reason I am in the career field I am in. I am beyond lucky to have gotten to work alongside her at Manchester. She made my college experience an exceptional one, and I feel sad for the students who won’t get to witness her greatness.”

Kyle Konarski ’13 credits Fawbush for getting him to participate in the community. "She brought me into the SAC and made it my home away from home," he said. “If it hadn’t been for her, I doubt I would’ve gotten as involved in campus life as I did. This would’ve completely changed my four years there, and who knows, I might not have stayed.

“I’m not sure she was aware of it but by me calling her ‘Momma’ she became a second mom to me,” Konarski continued. “She took care of me when I needed it, she straightened me out when I made the wrong choice, and she listened when I just needed an ear.”

Mandy Toney '15 agreed. “Not only did Shanon inspire a deep-shared vision for creating a Welcome Week that leaves no student scared, lonely or lost, but she taught us how to respect one another, communicate effectively and to respect the sacred connection that all SOLs develop as ambassadors for Manchester," she said. 

“Shanon taught us that to be on time was to be late, and 15 minutes early is always the right call," Toney continued. "She taught us to have unconditional compassion and love for others, patience, and how to seek enjoyment in others and circumstances.”

Toney added: “We all call her Momma, though I don't think she ever could fathom how for so many of us that she truly played that role in our lives. She doted. She cared. She hugged. She reassured.”

Despite the loss of Fawbush's presence on campus, members of the activities council and other organizations she has overseen through the years are determined to keep the legacy she has left alive. "Whether she knows it or not, she helped me become a more caring and hardworking individual by being a great leader and role model," Shortt said.  

Fawbush departs with saying the students are what have made her time on campus so worthwhile. "What I will miss most about Manchester is the students—the ones that I have developed strong relationships with and the ones I had yet to develop," she said. “It has been an amazing ride!"