Richard S. Shineman was a long-time chemistry professor at SUNY Oswego, and a humble man. What few knew was that he was also very wealthy. His father was the former chairman of Beech-Nut Packing Co., makers of baby foods, chewing gum and other specialty foods. Dick inherited a fortune from his father, but he shunned the spotlight and continued to do good works in the community. That fortune would allow Dick’s good work to continue long after his death. Shineman and his widow Barbara created the Richard S. Shineman Foundation in 1988. Over the last eight years, the Foundation has distributed more than $12 million to date to causes in Oswego County and around Central New York. The goal is to make the region a better, healthier, more economically just community.
Former Herald-Journal/Post-Standard journalist has written a new book called “The Shineman Legacy: The Founder Speaks.” Through a series of interviews with Barbara Shineman, Rea helps document the man behind these good works. The largest of the Foundation’s gifts allowed for the building of the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering, and Innovation at SUNY Oswego. The naming gift included $4 million over ten years, with an additional $1 million from the now 93-year-old Barbara Shineman.
The Shineman Center opened in 2013 on the Oswego campus, near the Marano Campus Center. We spoke with Jeff Rea and the director of the Shineman Foundation, Karen Goetz, about the book and the Shineman legacy. All net proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Richard S. Shineman Foundation in its mission to serve as a Catalyst for Change in Oswego County and Central New York. Amazing projects, especially for those less fortunate, have received boosts — large and small — from the foundation, and many more will benefit in the future.