Athletic Director Liddle to Retire at the Top of Her Game

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 31, 2012

By Amanda Card ’12

After an amazing 19 years at the helm of Arcadia University intercollegiate athletics, a milestone she will reach this summer, Shirley Liddle will retire. And working with her, Arcadia President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III has moved swiftly to appoint a blue-ribbon search committee whose explicit charge will be to continue Liddle’s drive to excellence. (Find out who is on the search committee.)

Arcadia University celebrates and applauds the efforts and achievements of Athletic Director Liddle as she nears her August retirement. Her influential energy streams through campus, and with her persistence to bring a baseball field and turf fields to campus, her retirement won’t mark the end of her numerous Arcadia accomplishments.

Liddle started her Arcadia career in 1993 when the college was poised for the opening of the Kuch Center. Within a few years, Liddle was a factor in the college’s NCAA induction and served five years as President of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC).

In an e-mail sent to the entire Arcadia campus announcing Liddle’s decision to retire, President Oxholm recognized her many successes. (Read the full text in the Bulletin.) Among other things, he noted that Arcadia “dominated the PAC conference” during her athletic leadership. Arcadia University became “nationally ranked in Men’s Soccer, Baseball, and Basketball, and Women’s Softball during our 15 years in that league.” It’s pretty clear he has that objective in mind for the Middle Atlantic Conference we are in today.

Since arriving in August, President Oxholm has moved quickly to build on the success of Liddle’s achievements with Arcadia’s athletics program. “Being a student-athlete was integral to my college experience,” he says. “It’s a privilege to go to a small university where you will have life-changing experiences and make life-long friends. Shirley helped to create that for thousands of students here at Arcadia, and we are investing in the facilities, staffing and attitude that will help our student-athletes succeed and will make our campus alive—both inside the classroom and on the field.”

Liddle took success in stride as she later persisted for the University’s admittance into the Middle Atlantic Conference. President Oxholm noted the importance of her persistence. “[She] provided a great role model to all of calm and pleasant but relentless persistence—which was a truly significant move not just for the Arcadia athletic program, but for the entire University in term of our new affiliations” he says.

As she makes plans for her retirement, Liddle remains on the move, advocating for the growth of the new Men’s Lacrosse team, ensuring a baseball field that’s close to campus, and overseeing the turfing and lighting of Arcadia’s Easton Field. “That is going to be very special,” she says.

In the meantime, the Arcadia community continues to recognize Liddle’s achievements and reflect on the thousands of student-athletes she has influenced.

In the past few months, Arcadia University has undergone what Ty Pennington might consider an “Extreme MakeOver.” (See my article, Putting the “U” in AU.) The stories have been carried in The Tower (student newspaper), the Bulletin and Arcadia Magazine. It will be a very exciting time for a new Athletic Director to arrive.

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