Alumna with a Mission, Vision & Purpose
When Shanda Boone-Hurdle ’95 first set foot on the campus of Ferrum College as a freshman during orientation, she wondered to herself, “Why am I here?” Raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, Boone-Hurdle hoped to attend a college that would introduce her to new people and a new area. “I went to a neighborhood school and saw the same people at church, in recreation leagues, and at home. I wanted to go away to school.”
Boone-Hurdle applied to several schools, but the phone calls and contacts she received from alumni and current Ferrum students made her feel wanted and important. She chose Ferrum without ever having visited the campus, but during her first few days there, she certainly wondered if she had chosen well. Boone-Hurdle was actually quite homesick, until a faculty member connected her with a student who was from the Norfolk, Virginia, area.
While at Ferrum, Boone-Hurdle was involved in numerous clubs and organizations, including the O Team, the gospel group, the multicultural advisory board, and The Iron Blade. “These gave me a sense of pride and helped me develop leadership skills that I still use today,” she says. Boone-Hurdle also fondly remembers the Folklife Festival and the amazing pork skins, which she admits she still thinks of often! She says the friends she made and the professors and staff members she met gave her a sense of family; she still feels connected to Ferrum College, despite the fact that she hasn’t actually visited the campus since 1996. “If you are going to enjoy Ferrum and get out of it all it has to offer, you must invest yourself in organizations and take advantage of the resources offered,” Boone-Hurdle advises. She has many memories of Professor Lana Whited; Boone-Hurdle was an English major with a concentration in writing, so Whited was a frequent professor. “I am very grateful for how she pushed me and forced me to become a better writer. I find myself using a lot of her techniques with my students and I realize, now that I am a teacher, the lessons she taught make so much sense,” she says.
Following graduation, Boone-Hurdle attended Old Dominion University, where she earned a Master of Arts degree. Currently, she is teaching English in the Hampton City Public School system and is an adjunct English Composition Professor for Thomas Nelson Community College. She is the mother to four children (Destiny, 19; Antonio, 17; Darrian, 7; and Layla, 8), and has been married eight years to her husband, Michael. Additionally, Boone-Hurdle is writing a book focusing on the day-to-day challenges each of us goes through. Ultimately, Boone-Hurdle would like to be a motivational speaker, carrying her message of “mission, vision, and purpose” to as many as possible. Boone-Hurdle credits Ferrum College for developing her sense of self and the principles and values by which she lives her life today. “I was surrounded by faculty and staff who had a genuine interest in me and my well-being as a student, and I would not have gotten that elsewhere,” she notes.