Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Lycoming mourns the loss of leader and friend Robert L. Shangraw, LL.D., '58 H'04

Lycoming mourns the loss of leader and friend Robert L. Shangraw, LL.D., '58 H'04

Robert L. Shangraw, LL.D '58 H'04

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Former Lycoming College Board Chair and Trustee Emeritus Robert L. Shangraw, LL.D., ’58 H’04 passed away on Thursday morning, June 11. He was 82.

Among his many civic responsibilities, Shangraw served in leadership roles with the following organizations:

  • Lycoming Business-Education Coalition Member
  • Williamsport Regional Medical Center, Board Member
  • Children’s Development Center Capital Campaign, Chairman
  • Capital Campaign, Little League International
  • Lycoming County Capital Campaign, Hiawatha
  • Lycoming County Capital Campaign Review Committee
  • Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation, Past President and Advisory Board Member
  • Williamsport Area Community College Building Authority, Chairman
  • Williamsport Area Joint School Authority, Chairman
  • Jersey Shore YMCA - Capital Campaign Advisor
  • Treasure Lake Church – Capital Campaign Advisor
  • River Valley Regional YMCA - Capital Campaign Advisor
  • Susquehanna Health - Capital Campaign Advisor

A native of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, Shangraw was asked to join the Lycoming College Board of Trustees in 1985 and in the spring of 1989, he became the chair of the board. He spent 16 years in that role, working hand-in-hand with President James Douthat to help grow Lycoming’s endowment from $14 million to more than $100 million at the end of his term.

"Bob epitomized so much of what is wonderful about Lycoming College," said President Kent Trachte. "He was a warm and generous human being. He cared deeply about our college and did so much to advance it through his leadership and generosity. He was a great and loyal friend to so many of us and we shall miss him dearly. We have lost one of the true giants in the history of the college."

A man of seemingly endless energy, he served as chair for three fundraising campaigns (1986, 1990, and Campaign 2000), which raised more than $36 million. He also helped oversee the construction of the Heim Science Center, Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall, the Douthat Commons, the Recreation Center and was active in the expansion of the College’s boundaries to Market Street. Honors Hall is also the proud home to the Robert L. and Charlene Shangraw Performing Arts Center. A significant supporter and advocate for athletics, Shangraw led a fund drive to build a new athletic stadium in 1998 transforming David Person Field into one of the best small college athletic facilities in the northeast. In recognition of his generosity and leadership in completing the project, the Lycoming College Board of Trustees named the Robert L. Shangraw Athletic Complex in his honor.

In 1994 Shangraw was presented with the Angela R. Kyte Outstanding Alumnus Award to recognize "a lifetime of service to humanity and whose life exemplifies those qualities encouraged and fostered at Lycoming College." In 2004, Lycoming College awarded Shangraw an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.

Shangraw worked for most of his career in the Williamsport area and was the first person from Williamsport to chair the college’s board in nearly 70 years when he took the position in 1989.

Shangraw’s service extended beyond the college to the greater Williamsport area.

As such, Shangraw was not just active in the Lycoming College community, but also the greater Williamsport area. His impact and commitment to serving others stands as one of his most significant legacies. Over the course of his career, he served on the boards of the Susquehanna Health System, First Community Foundation of Pennsylvania, River Valley Regional YMCA, Jersey Shore YMCA, Little League International, Ross Club, Lycoming Business-Education Coalition and the Williamsport Area Joint School Authority.

His generosity and fundraising impacted virtually every major not-for-profit in the greater Williamsport area. A member of the Lycoming County Capital Campaign Review Committee, Shangraw chaired capital campaigns for the Children's Development Center, and was involved in capital campaigns for Little League Baseball and the Hiawatha Riverboat. Additionally, he was adviser for campaigns for the Jersey Shore YMCA, Treasure Lake Church, River Valley Regional YMCA and Susquehanna Health.

Most recently, Shangraw was honored by the United Way of Lycoming County with the 2014 Douglas C. Dickey Humanitarian Award. The Dickey Award, given annually to a person who demonstrates commitment and leadership, is the United Way's most prestigious honor.

Shangraw began his professional career at Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania and spent the latter part of his career climbing the ranks at Merrill Lynch as a financial consultant, assistant vice president, vice president and first vice president of investments.

His memberships include the Lycoming County United Way Tocqueville Society, Lycoming College 1812 Society and Tower Society and the Williamsport Country Club.

Memorial Services for Robert L. Shangraw, LL.D. were held on Monday, June 15  at First United Methodist Church in  Williamsport. His obituary appears in the Sun-Gazette.

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