Dr. H. Ric Luhrs
March 22, 1931 — November 20, 2004
“Even though Ric was not an alumnus of Ship, he not only loved this University, but, more importantly, epitomized the core values the University strives to teach its students—the values of community, citizenship, and civility. He will be greatly missed.” – President Anthony Ceddia (SU President, 1981-2005)
As with any family, we are always sad when we lose a loved one. On November 20, 2004, the Shippensburg University family suffered a great loss when Dr. H. Ric Luhrs passed away.
H. Ric Luhrs was proud to be a member of the Shippensburg University family, and his dedication to this family was well-known. His mother, Pearl, graduated from Cumberland Valley State Normal School in 1920, and his wife of 31 years, Grace, graduated from Shippensburg State College with her master’s degree in 1970. Through these connections and his involvement with the SU Foundation, Ric became wholeheartedly committed to the mission of the University and was an enthusiastic supporter of the vision that Tony Ceddia (SU president from 1981 to 2005) had for the University’s development and advancement.
His commitment to Shippensburg personified the attitude with which he approached all aspects of his life. As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having served in the Korean War, Ric demonstrated his love and loyalty to his country. As president and CEO of The Beistle Company until his retirement in 2002, Ric displayed the work ethic that resulted in his turning a small-town company into the world’s largest manufacturer of decorations, display materials, and party favors. And to Grace, he was a devoted husband who showed his love by working hard to provide for their interests.
It comes as no surprise that Ric approached his relationship with Shippensburg University and the SU Foundation with the same tenacity and loyalty that he demonstrated in the other areas of his life. At the time of his passing, Dr. Luhrs was serving as the National Campaign Chairman of the Navigating into the Future comprehensive campaign. As such, he was also part of the Campaign Management Team and the Campaign Steering Committee. He served on the SU Foundation’s Board of Directors since 1991 and, as part of his board service, was a member of the Executive Committee and the Donor Advised Funds Committee. Previously, he had served as a volunteer on the Leadership/Major Gifts Committee for the Building a Better Future capital campaign.
Shippensburg University was fortunate to have Ric as a close and faithful friend. He not only gave of his time to advance the cause at Shippensburg; he also generously gave of his resources. In totality, he provided more than $3.5 million to the SU Foundation for the benefit of SU, its students, and the region.
Due to Ric’s generosity, the Shippensburg University Council of Trustees designated that SU’s newest building would be named in his honor as the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. Grace, Ric’s widow, has also been faithfully involved with supporting the mission at Shippensburg Unversity. The University’s instructional laboratory elementary school was named the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School in recognition of the special relationship that she also has with Shippensburg University and the SU Foundation.
Shippensburg University is very saddened to have lost a dear friend, but are pleased that Ric’s legacy continues to live on at Shippensburg University and the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center.