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In Memoriam: Barbara Palmer Shineman - Mar. 1, 2024

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Dear Members of the SUNY Oswego Community-

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that professor emerita of education, former member of the Oswego University Foundation Board of Directors and philanthropist, Barbara Palmer Shineman ’65 M’71 CAS’88, died peacefully Feb. 28, at her home in Fayetteville, N.Y. She was 95.

Barbara was a professor emerita of education. Her teaching career at SUNY Oswego began in 1965 at the Campus School (later known as the Swetman Learning Center), a campus-based learning laboratory for future teachers, counselors, psychologists and administrators where innovative teaching and learning methods were developed. After 11 years at the Campus School, she continued her career as a professor of elementary education until her retirement in 1989.

Her impact on generations of teachers as well as community members is tremendous. Barbara’s devotion to her alma mater for nearly 60 years was remarkable but also very much in character with her love of education and our campus. Barbara believed, as I do, that higher education allows you to pursue your dreams, develop confidence and enable success.

Barbara, along with the Shineman Foundation which was founded by Barbara in memory of her late husband Richard S. Shineman, in 2013 gifted the university $5 million – the largest cash donation ever received by the university at the time. The gift established the first named chair of the chemistry department and provided funding for a flexible pool of earnings, managed by a campus committee, to support educational and cultural opportunities. In recognition of the gift, the SUNY Board of Trustees approved the naming of the then new science complex, the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

In 2018, the Shineman Foundation donated $1 million to expand and name the Sheldon Institute for Barbara Shineman Scholars, the 45-year-old summertime educational enrichment program for area schoolchildren that she had originally helped establish. During her tenure, she personally developed the curricula for the program and delivered the teacher training for those participating in the institute, offering a significant professional development opportunity for regional teachers. The gift and the institute's naming were timed to honor Barbara Shineman on her 90th birthday in April 2018.

Respected and loved, she was a powerful voice for good. She transformed lives and increased upward mobility. Barbara will have a lasting impact on our institution and our students. 

Remain well,

Peter O. Nwosu, Ph.D.