About Helen G. Shaughnessy
In the 64 years that the late Helen G. Shaughnessy was affiliated with Worcester State University, she came to exemplify all that is special about the College. Mrs. Shaughnessy not only attended Worcester State Teachers College when the campus only consisted of the Administration Building, as an employee, she also enthusiastically helped add new programs, expand the student body, and the College remain a leader in Massachusetts public higher education.
Mrs. Shaughnessy began as an Education major in 1939 and made a name for herself as a “democratic, efficient, enthusiastic” student by the time she was elected president of her senior class. She remained an important part of WSU’s Education program once she became a teacher in the greater Worcester area. She graciously hosted many of the University’s student teachers in her classroom.
That connection was so positive that Mrs. Shaughnessy was recruited to join the WSU faculty. As she advanced to the position of associate professor and then chair of the Education Department, the University’s prominence as a first-rate teacher training school gained national recognition. Her commitment to academic excellence propelled her to oversight positions at the University, including director of Student Teaching, director of Personnel and Labor Relations, associate dean of Academic Affairs, and acting executive vice president.
After becoming an active alumna upon her retirement in 1986, Mrs. Shaughnessy turned her attention to future generations of WSU-trained teachers in 1999 when she endowed a scholarship for Education majors. At the time, she was a member of the Worcester State Foundation Board. Year after year, The Helen G. Shaughnessy Endowed Scholarship strengthens the University community by rewarding student merit and achievement. It opens doors for many bright students who come from value-conscious families, who are the first in their family to attend college, and who work their way to a degree by holding down multiple jobs.
Mrs. Shaughnessy is fondly remembered for her intelligence, devotion to students, friends, and colleagues, and delightful demeanor. WSU first honored her unwavering dedication to student academic achievement in 1986 with an Honorary Doctorate of Education. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Alma Mater in 1990, and was the University’s Scholarship Tea honoree in 2003.