MORRISVILLE, N.Y. — There’s no mistaking SUNY Morrisville professor Sheila Marshman’s compelling dedication as a teacher. “My purpose is to help others find theirs,” she said.
She has spent the last two decades devoting her life to that teaching philosophy.
It’s fueled her as a teacher, spirited an entire campus and shepherded countless graduates to find and follow their purpose.
Marshman, associate professor of agricultural business development, found hers in the SUNY Morrisville classroom while feeding her appetite to learn more about agriculture.
Her unwavering passion was recently recognized through the college’s Distinguished Faculty Award, based on her outstanding commitment to students, the college and community
Marshman received the award during the college’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in the Recreation Center.
“I'm blessed to work at an institution and within an industry filled with people who know their purpose and are willing to give back to the next generation of leaders,” she said.
Marshman, of Oxford, New York, was rooted in agriculture, growing up on her family’s dairy farm in Groton, Vermont.
“Those committed to the food system — it’s in our blood,” she said.
“Teaching energizes me, and I strive to share my passions for the extraordinary complexities of the food system, production agriculture and finance with others, particularly college students,” Marshman said. “My goal as a professor is to instill a passion for learning within my students, one that helps each student find their purpose.”
This is evident throughout her tenure at SUNY Morrisville, where she has made her mark on the campus in many ways, including fostering the college’s four-year degree in agricultural business development, a minor in agricultural human resource management, and co-authoring the college’s first proposed master’s degree program in food & agribusiness.
A past recipient of a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, she serves as co-advisor to SUNY Morrisville National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Chapter and Collegiate Farm Bureau.
“I came to SUNY Morrisville for the same reason as do most of our students, in search of something, maybe a sense of self, maybe a purpose or just maybe a sense of belonging,” Marshman said.
She found much more throughout her tenure — success as a coworker, mentor, teacher and friend.
“I owe my success as a professor to former students, particularly those alumni from the early 2000s,” Marshman said. “Their accomplishments inspire me to do better, teach better, and never stop teaching about the opportunities within the food system.
“Former students have become executives, entrepreneurs, educators, veterinarians and most importantly, good humans who are making valuable contributions to their communities. They are giving back, and that gives me a sense of accomplishment,” she said.
“Sheila looks at everyday conflicts and stressors as opportunities to improve and leave a ‘better tomorrow,’ according to a letter by the College Senate Awards Committee. “She also embraces all opportunities to teach her students to be better individuals and role models in and out of the classroom.”
Marshman’s impact on the agricultural industry spans well beyond the college campus into the community and region.
A member of the consulting team of NY FarmNet, she helps farm families across the state make financial decisions and plan for their future through succession/estate planning and is a mentor for the GrowNY business competition focusing on growing agriculture innovation throughout the region.
Marshman is also active with the Farm Rancher Stress Assistance Network - Northeast, where she and her agribusiness students, in conjunction with other universities and industry leaders, wrote five case studies to improve the financial literacy of seasonal farmworkers.
A noted national, state and local speaker, Marshman is engaged in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Development Chenango Corporation, the NBT Bank Southern Tier Regional Advisory Board, New York State Promotion Order Board, New York State Dairy Think Tank and the New York State Agricultural Foundation Board.
Her work with local organizations includes youth softball, FFA and 4-H, and involvement in dairy product give-away efforts at the college’s Norwich Campus and in Chenango County to assist families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marshman was recently recognized with two awards for her service and volunteer efforts in the agriculture industry, receiving the Frank Pace Award from the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) for her volunteer efforts with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Kenya and the Person of Distinction honor from the New York State Dairy of Distinction Program for dedicated service to the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program.
Her extensive agricultural experience includes attending the International Agricultural Economics Conference in Beijing, China and participating in a food system tour of rural China as an invited guest of the Renmin University of China. The trip prompted much of her advocacy and education for a local food system in the United States.
Marshman earned a Ph.D. from Capella University, an MBA from Le Moyne College, and completed post graduate work at Cornell University, Kansas State University and the University at Albany. She is a graduate of LeadNY Class II.
Marshman is the daughter of Ken and Barb Murray of Groton, Vermont.
Marshman resides with her husband, John, and their daughter, Lily, on John’s family’s seventh generation dairy farm, Tiger Lily Holsteins, owned by John, David (’88), and Corey Marshman (’19).