Thursday, February 20, 2014

AICUO Loses First Executive Director

AICUO began in 1969 when a group of independent college presidents decided that the creation of the state's need-based aid program required a more systematic engagement of the legislature, governor, and Ohio Board of Regents. For the association's first four years, they made their presence known and worked hard to bring to life a new entity with bylaws, meetings, and offices. During that time, the association was led by Executive Director Richard W. Shoemaker. Sadly, on February 13, 2014, Mr. Shoemaker died after a rapid decline in health. He was 88 years old.

Dick Shoemaker served as a naval officer in World War II and the Korean conflict, attended Denison University and graduated from Otterbein College.  He was married over 40 years before the death of his wife, and is survived by his second spouse and the three children from his first marriage.

Mr. Shoemaker led AICUO's first years, and then stayed with the organization as Vice President after it transitioned to a larger organizational model in 1972. I never met Mr. Shoemaker, but know of his effective work from AICUO's archives and meeting minutes. In a March 1972 memo to the AICUO board announcing a later-adopted plan to change the organization's structure, Capital University President and AICUO President (i.e., board chairman) Thomas Langevin commented:
"As an association, AICUO has attained noteworthy success. It has only a short history but due to the work of many people a great deal of ground has been gained. The Ohio Instructional Grants [predecessor to today's Ohio College Opportunity Grant] Program represents the most noteworthy attainment, but also the production of the Ohio Study; the accumulation and updating of data presented by the institutions; the establishment of research policy positions which [were] just [then] coming to the Executive committee for later adoption by the Board; and other things, represent considerable attainment."
The Ohio Study was a particular achievement, described in minutes as a "mammoth venture" to study institutional capacity in the sector and disseminate the study's results across the state. With costs totaling $47,500 outside of AICUO's budget, the study was completed in 1970, although the association's dissemination continued through 1972. By comparison, association dues in 1971 were $60,000, with per member rates ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

Of course, every job has its less glamorous side. Presumably Mr. Shoemaker saw that in April 1970, when according to minutes of the AICUO Executive Committee, he had to convince the group to authorize the purchase of a dictation machine for $350. The minutes also document that his recommendation to purchase what was apparently an expensive machine for the time, was accepted.

In 1973, Frank E. Duddy, Jr., after stepping down as president of Marietta College, became association president. Mr. Shoemaker remained as his Vice President until both left in 1983, when my predecessor, Larry Christman, became AICUO President.

AICUO will be making a contribution in memory of Mr. Shoemaker. The link to his obituary provides information for those that wish to do likewise.

-- C. Todd Jones