Alumni Magazine

SPR-SUM 2017

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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Page 71 of 91

70 PIERCE / SPRING 2017 VOLUNTEER PROFILE E veryone knows seven is a lucky number. Just ask Kevin Shirvell '01. Back in 1997, when he was deciding where to attend college, he and his friends made the seven-hour drive seven times from his Long Island home to visit Franklin Pierce. "It didn't take me that long to choose Franklin Pierce," Shirvell, who would go on to major in American Studies, says. "Everyone discouraged me, but I always knew it was the right place for me." In fact, Shirvell was so sure he would enroll, he secretly bought a Franklin Pierce sweatshirt and stuffed it into his bag without showing anyone. Family and friends gave him an endless list of reasons that he would never survive in the small New Hampshire school. He says the numerous campus visits were more to convince them—his own decision was solid. "Rindge has a Wal-Mart, a bank and a gas station. There's a main stoplight and if you don't make the turn, you'll miss the campus," he says. "But it's a breathtaking place and I never seriously considered another college. They offered me $6000 a semester in financial aid, and enrolling was the best decision I ever made." As a student, Shirvell says he learned to do his best as an individual, and to use his specific talents and skills to fit into the community. "I became my best self at Franklin Pierce," he explains. "I learned the world isn't all about me, and that it takes everyone to make a difference." While at Pierce, Shirvell had to take a three-semester medical leave. His professors stayed supportive throughout his ordeal. "All my friends at home said I shouldn't return, but I was adamant I'd finish," Shirvell says. "It was great to have a support system at school, and it's why I keep in contact with my professors. I still depend on their support, the support of friends from college and others I've met through the alumni association." Shrivell is highly engaged in the University's Alumni Association. "I'm on the external relations committee, which promotes the University's events and why it's so important and special to be an alumnus," he says. "Everyone has a story about why they love Franklin Pierce." He works to keep older alumni connected to the newer graduates, publicizing Reunion, and encouraging Reunion Class Giving. "I try to donate as much as I can," he says. "It's how I give back for the $6000 I received each semester." For the past 15 years, Shirvell has been teaching special-needs elementary students in New York City's Harlem. "I love my job, but when life gets stressful, I rely on the strength I get from my relationships at Franklin Pierce," he explains. "I pull out that old sweatshirt. It's falling apart, but it brings me back to the bond I felt when I was there. It's been many years since I graduated, but I still try to make sure Franklin Pierce is part of my every day." – Katherine Adams Lucky Charm Kevin Shirvell '01 keeps Franklin Pierce part of his daily life I became my best self at Franklin Pierce … I learned the world isn't all about me, and that it takes everyone to make a difference."

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