Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, and Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell have announced that the state Senate on October 19, 2009, confirmed the appointment of Dr. Mary Esther Van Shura, of Pittsburgh, to the IUP Council of Trustees.

Her term began October 19 and will extend to January 20, 2015.

“I am pleased Dr. Van Shura's nomination was confirmed by the state Senate,” Senator Don White said. “Her tremendous experience as an educator will prove to be a very strong asset to the Council of Trustees, and I look forward to working with her to advance the many initiatives IUP has undertaken.”

The Council of Trustees is responsible for financial oversight and ensuring compliance of university policies with state law. Its next regular meeting is in December.

Van Shura will fill the vacancy on the council created by the death of David Johnson in February.

“Dr. Van Shura brings a wealth of experience in both the public education and state government sectors to her role as an IUP trustee,” Atwater said. “I am pleased that she has chosen to join our other distinguished trustees in advancing our excellent university.”

Van Shura is the director of Community Affairs in the office of County Executive Dan Onorato of Allegheny County, a position she has held since 2006. In that role, she is the representative of the county executive for a variety of community issues.

She also serves as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Pittsburgh School of Education's Administrative and Policy Studies program.

Before her current position, she was the assistant director of the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Parks and Recreation for ten years.

She has also served as director of the state office for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford; as director of mental retardation services for Step-by-Step Inc. of Pittsburgh; as an elementary school teacher in the Waverly Central Schools in Waverly, N.Y.; and as a consultant for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

She served as an appointed member of the Pennsylvania Council on Aging, as executive committee member of the Pittsburgh Local Organizing Committee for the 2005 National Senior Games, and as a member of the board of directors for Chatham Village Homes, Inc.

Her additional political leadership positions include serving as the Western Pennsylvania coordinator of the 1992 campaign for former President Bill Clinton; Western Pennsylvania coordinator in 1991 and 1994 for the United States Senate campaign for Wofford; co-chair of the Municipal Cooperation Committee for Onorato's transition team; member of the Electoral College in 1992; at-large delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1992, 1996, and 2000; and Rules Committee member for the 1980 Democratic National Convention.

Van Shura has a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Science degree in educational administration from the State University of New York at Albany, and a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from College Misericordia.