Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Ruth Shirey '65

Ruth Shirey '65

Dr. Ruth Shirey retired in 2007 from IUP after serving 37 years on the faculty of the Geography and Regional Planning Department. Chair of the department from 1977 to 1988, she was also the interim associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1987 to 1989.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography Education from IUP in 1965 and was a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international geography honorary society. She obtained Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in geography in 1968 and 1970, respectively, from the University of Tennessee. She was awarded a National Defense Education Act Title IV fellowship at the University of Tennessee in 1965–1968.

She was an assistant professor at Tennessee Tech University in 1968–69. Shirey joined the faculty at IUP in 1970 and taught until her recent retirement. In 1988, she participated in a Fulbright faculty exchange with the University of Poona in India.

The contributions Shirey has made in her field have elevated IUP’s academic status and have enhanced geographic literacy in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. She brought IUP international recognition when she served as the executive director of the National Council for Geographic Education from 1988 to 2002 and based its headquarters at IUP. Concurrently, she provided IUP prestige as she served as a state coordinator for the Pennsylvania Geographic Alliance from 1986 to 2002.

She has authored and edited numerous academic and educational resources, including books and journal articles. She has also given presentations and directed or administrated numerous grant-funded projects and served on geography association committees. She was the project administrator for the National Geography Standards Project and participated in the writing of the state geography standards.

Shirey received the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Service Award for 1998–1999 and the IUP Graduate Dean’s Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sponsored Programs. She was honored with the Pennsylvania Geographical Society Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and the George J. Miller Award for Distinguished Service from the National Council for Geographic Education in 1996—the same year she was included in the Geographers on Film Series. She was also honored for her service to Gamma Theta Upsilon International Honor Society in 2003. She was elected to the Society of Woman Geographers in 1980 and is a life member of the Association of American Geographers, the National Council for Geographic Education, and the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers.

Originally from the Johnstown, Pa., area, Shirey resides in Indiana with her husband, Royce. They have a son, Todd.

Shirey is a 2008 recipient of the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award.

Profile published on 6/30/08

  • Office of Alumni Relations
  • Breezedale Alumni Center
    880 School Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-7942
  • Fax: 724-357-7926
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.