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Liberty’s registrar, Larry Shackelton, leaves a lasting impression on students and fellow faculty members
After nearly 12 years serving with Liberty University, Larry Shackleton retired from his position as university registrar and vice president of administrative information management Dec. 31, 2013.
Shackleton started with Liberty in 2002 during the construction of the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center and has seen tremendous growth on campus and in the student population, according to the Liberty News Service. In the midst of Liberty’s growth spurt, Shackleton’s top priority was the students.
“One of the first things he told me was, ‘I don’t care who it is or what time it is, I can meet with any student, and I would be more than happy to,”’ Taylor York, administrative assistant, said Kendra Wright, a senior at Liberty, said her grandfather was ill with cancer but wanted to see her walk the stage at graduation. Shackleton allowed her to do so without having graduated.
“He would open up his office because he had a passion for helping students,” Wright said. “I tear up because he really fought for me. I can’t express how much he helped me.”
York said he believes Shackleton’s work over the years showed his striving to bridge the gap between the students and the Registrar’s Office, helping meet their needs on a personal level.
“He has a great mind for the big picture, and that was something he preached to us,” York said. “You need to understand the big picture to really help someone accomplish what they hope to.”
Shackleton helped work through the project of establishing online registration. According to the Liberty News Service, He was also the forerunner in creating the Student Service Center where students can find assistance for student accounts, financial aid, registration and graduation in one location.
Luke Gentala, who has stepped up to fill Shackleton’s shoes as university registrar, said he worked with Shackleton for eight years.
“We used to joke together that LU stood for ‘line up,’ which has changed now that we have online registration and the Student Service Center,” Gentala said. “Larry was always doing what was best for the students.”
According to Gentala, he knew about a year ago that Shackleton was thinking about retirement. He said he believes Shackleton’s vacation gave him a taste of retirement and helped him decide that it was time to focus his attention on his wife, seven children and 12 grandchildren.
Soon after retiring, Shackleton took a two-week vacation to Florida with family, according to the Liberty News Service. He and his wife will stay in the area and will enjoy being grandparents during his retirement.
“The office was very heartbroken when he announced he was leaving,” York said. “They acknowledged there would be a big change because of how much of an impact Larry had. He has left a legacy here at Liberty that is going to impact the university forever.”
The former registrar’s responsibilities were divided among three staff members, according to the Liberty News Service. Gentala became the university registrar, Michael Shenkle is now the senior associate registrar, and Josh Redmond is the director of external reporting.