June 12, 2015

Lycoming Football - Lycoming athletics mourns loss of Dr. Robert L. Shangraw ’58 H’04

Bob Shangraw '58 H'04 looks out over the Robert L. Shangraw Athletic Complex as it was constructed in 1998.
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Former Lycoming College Board Chair and Trustee Emeritus Robert L. Shangraw ’58 passed away on Thursday morning, June 11. He was 82.


A visitation will be held on Sunday, June 14th from 4 to 6 p.m. in Clarke Chapel on the Lycoming College campus. The funeral service will be held on Monday, June 15th at 10:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church (604 Market Street, Williamsport).

“Bob epitomized so much of what is wonderful about Lycoming College,” President Kent Trachte said. “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 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.

“There’s no question in my mind that Bob Shangraw was the driving force behind the stadium,” former director of athletics and head football coach Frank Girardi said. “He had a great love for Lycoming College and a love for the athletic programs. He was a great supporter of Lycoming athletics.”

When the complex was dedicated, then-President James Douthat cited Bob for his gifts of “financial support, his total loyalty, his precious personal time and his boundless energies to Lycoming College.”

Shangraw’s impact on the athletic program has continued through the years, with a donation making renovations to the athletic complex’s entryway and parking lot in 2013.

“Bob has always been a very passionate fan and supporter of Lycoming Athletics,” Director of Athletics and head football coach Mike Clark ’93 said. “He was a guy who from the beginning was always willing to come in and offer support for everything we were trying to accomplish. He really cared about the success of our programs.”

A native of Jersey Shore, Pa., Shangraw was asked to join the Lycoming College Board of Trustees in 1985 and in the spring of 1989, he was asked to serve as the Chair of the Board. He spent 16 years in that roll, working hand-in-hand with President James Douthat to help grow Lycoming’s endowment from $14 million to more than $100 million.

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.

“Bob is a true Warrior,” Lycoming College assistant head football coach Steve Wiser ’74 said. “He made Lycoming College a better place and will be truly missed by the Lycoming College community. His contribution to the athletic complex and athletics in general, was transformative.”

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

As such, he was not just active in the Lycoming College community, but also the greater Lycoming area and he was honored as the 2014 Douglas C. Dickey Humanitarian Award by the Lycoming County United Way on April 16, 2015.

He 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.

Dr. 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.