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Contact Commencement  


Winter 2016 Speakers

Undergraduate Ceremonies

December 18, 10:00 a.m.

Thomas E. Mills, IV ’81

Thomas E. Mills, IV is the President of Kratos Modular Systems Division, which includes Gichner Systems Group (“Gichner”), based near York, Pennsylvania, and Charleston Marine Containers (“CMCI”), based in Charleston, South Carolina.

With 47 years of experience, 5 manufacturing plants, and approximately 500 employees, Gichner and CMCI are two of the leading suppliers of integrated complex shelter and container systems to the U.S. military, U.S. State Department, and foreign governments. Under Mr. Mills’ leadership, Kratos Modular Systems Division has increased sales from approximately $25 million in 2004-05 to more than $150 million. 

Prior to joining Gichner, Mr. Mills was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Metrologic Instruments, Inc., having joined the company as Chief Financial Officer in 1994. When Mr. Mills departed Metrologic in 2004, sales had grown from $33 million to nearly $178 million. 

Prior to joining Metrologic, Mr. Mills held several senior management positions at various publicly- traded and privately-held companies. Trained as a certified public accountant, Mr. Mills started his career at KPMG. He earned a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from West Chester University in 1981. 

In addition to his professional success, Mr. Mills has been an active WCU volunteer, serving as a trustee and vice president of the WCU Foundation Board of Trustees and a member of the Business & Public Management Center Campaign Committee. Mr. Mills has received a number of professional and service awards including the Dean’s Award from the WCU College of Business and Public Management and the Distinguished Alumni Award acknowledging his service and philanthropy to West Chester University. Mr. Mills is married with three adult daughters and resides in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

December 18, 1:30 p.m.

Paula D. Shaffner, Esq. '80

Paula D. Shaffner, Esq. '80 is partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, a full service law firm with expertise in numerous legal practice areas. Ms. Shaffner, who serves as co-chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation & Enforcement practice group, is widely recognized as a fierce advocate for clients in the financial services industry. She has routinely been named a “super lawyer” by the Super Lawyer rating service, which identifies outstanding attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

For almost 30 years, Ms. Shaffner has represented individuals and companies in virtually all aspects of their business, particularly in litigation and regulatory matters in securities litigation. She has defended clients in regulatory matters before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA), and various exchanges and state regulators, and she also represents clients in litigation filed in court or arbitration. 

In her practice, Ms. Shaffner conducts internal investigations and provides compliance counseling. Her clients include public companies, mutual funds, hedge funds, investment companies and advisers, broker dealers, and individuals associated with those entities. She is designated by FINRA and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as a Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional. In addition, she is a frequently requested speaker at regional and national conferences in securities enforcement and litigation. 

Paula Shaffner is a member of the American Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association. In addition, she is a member of the West Chester University Foundation Board of Trustees, where she has served as President and is Chairperson of the Development Committee, and the WCU Business and Public Management Center Campaign Committee. A 1980 graduate of West Chester University, she earned her J.D. from Villanova University in 1985.

Graduate Ceremony

Susan Cusack ’M98

Susan Cusack, a 1998 graduate of West Chester University’s MBA program, is Executive Director of Mercy Catholic Medical Center (MCMC), which comprises the two-campus community teaching hospitals of Mercy Fitzgerald (MFH), located in the Philadelphia suburb of Darby, and Mercy Philadelphia (MPH), located in the heart of Southwest Philadelphia. Dr. Cusack has an extensive clinical and healthcare management background, starting her career as a critical care nurse before assuming managerial roles. She joined Mercy in 2007 as Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital and was named Vice President of Operations in 2009.

A general medical and surgical center consistently recognized for clinical excellence, MCMC has 382 beds and manages more than 20,000 annual inpatient admissions. Dr. Cusack oversees administrative operations, including day-to-day operations and oversight of more than 1,000 full time employees. Her role includes ensuring compliance with regulatory agencies, strategic planning and implementation, and establishing methods that improve key hospital processes.

Prior to assuming leadership of both campuses in 2014, Dr. Cusack served as Interim Director of MFH and Executive Director/Administrator of MPH. Before joining Mercy, she was Chief Nursing Officer at Community Health Systems, in Franklin, Tennessee, a position she also held at Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and at Northeastern Hospital and Neumann Medical Center in Philadelphia. She has served as Adjunct Professor of Health Administration at Eastern University since 2001, teaching in the university’s accelerated MBA program in Health Administration. 

A member of numerous professional and community affiliations, she is a Senior Scholar in the Thomas Jefferson Department of Health Policy and a member of the Health Care Improvement Foundation Advisory Board. Dr. Cusack is a frequent presenter on such topics as the Affordable Care Act, community care needs, and the relationship between costs and quality of care. In addition to her West Chester MBA, Dr. Cusack earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing from Widener University, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

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