In loving memory of AHEPPP founding member, Sheila Hrdlicka

We are deeply sorry to say goodbye to AHEPPP Founder, Sheila Hrdlicka, who passed away January 4, 2022, in Durham, NC. At a time when colleges and universities were just beginning to encourage parental involvement, Sheila was a pioneer in the field. Her work with parents and families began when she became a member of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Parents’ Council. Her organizational and planning skills impressed UNC administrators so much that they invited her to become the university’s Parents Office Coordinator. That position led to her appointment as Assistant Director of New Student and Carolina Parent Programs, a role she filled for twelve years. 

Sheila’s innovative and comprehensive services for families were a model for other schools, especially her communications and events to welcome students and their parents into the UNC family. In the years before everything went online, she was known as the creator of the “one-inch thick” parent handbook that she offered as a template for other schools. She encouraged colleagues across the country to use what they could and be creative in developing new ideas that would reflect the culture of their own campuses.

As one AHEPPP member has described her, Sheila was the ultimate “sharer and supporter.” In addition to mentoring other parent/family professionals, she shared her ideas for family involvement as a frequent presenter at national conferences, including Northeastern University’s annual forum: Administrators Promoting Parent Involvement. As one of the founders of AHEPPP, she was our conscience and our role model for inclusiveness, emphasizing the importance of welcoming and celebrating each new AHEPPP member and every conference participant. It has been hard to comprehend that, of our original AHEPPP founders, we have lost three members in the past three years, including Laura Stevens (University of Denver) in 2019, Kris Stewart (Miami of Ohio) in September 2021, and now Sheila (University of North Carolina). We are grateful for the messages of support we have received from many of you, and we especially appreciate your memories of Sheila’s warmth, kindness, and generosity. What has helped us face such loss is the knowledge that AHEPPP has become the respected, collaborative professional association we imagined. Creating this association has been an amazing and gratifying experience. It was hard, challenging work, and it was great fun shared with incredible, brilliant friends. We miss our departed friends deeply, but we wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Our hope is that all AHEPPP members will help keep this association as warm and welcoming as Sheila Hrdlicka demanded, as innovative as Kris Stewart insisted, and as fiscally and professionally responsible as Laura Stevens required.Sheila smiling at AHEPPP Conference

We join the Hrdlicka family--Sheila’s husband Gary, daughter and son-in-law, Shannon and Phil Helm, and grandchildren Samantha and Jackson--in celebrating Sheila’s life and her deep passion for all of her professional and volunteer activities.

Memorial contributions/ donations can be made to the Sheila Hrdlicka Memorial Scholarship at UNC (UNC-Chapel Hill P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 - Checks are made payable to UNC- Chapel Hill with Sheila Hrdlicka Memorial Scholarship written on the Memo Line); or to PanCAN, the Pancreatic Cancer Network at (1500 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266); or to Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church, (5731 North Roxboro Road, Durham, NC 27712)

Respectfully, from your founding AHEPPP members:
Colleen Bench
Marjorie Savage
Deanie Kepler
Jennifer Bell
Cindy Beaman
Nancy Hardendorf
Sarah Schupp, Founding Executive Director

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