In April 2015, President Shearer was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Alderson Broaddus Battler Hall of Fame, as recognition for all that he has done for AB, and for the Battler community. He had the pleasure of being instated into the Hall of Fame alongside his son, Richard Shearer, Jr.; they are the first-ever father-son duo to be inducted together.
Community invited to special service in memory of former Alderson Broaddus President
PHILIPPI, W.Va. – Alderson Broaddus University will hold a “Service of Remembrance” in memory of former President Dr. Richard Shearer on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Wilcox Chapel. Dr. Shearer passed away at the age of 95 on Oct. 6, 2015.
The public is invited to join the Shearer family, friends, and ABU community to this intimate service in remembrance of Dr. Shearer who served as AB President for 33 years.
After his retirement in 1983, he stayed in Philippi, W.Va. where he and his late wife Ruth (Mansberger) Shearer built a life with their three children Patricia, Suzanne, and Richard Jr.
Dr. Shearer began his presidency in 1951 and the basic philosophy of his leadership of Alderson Broaddus was, “A good education will provide power, but it takes good religion to give that power direction.”
In 1950, as a young pastor, he accepted the offer from the Board of Trustees to assume the presidency of Alderson-Broaddus College. At the age of 30, he was the youngest president of any four-year institution of higher learning in the United States. Under Shearer the fortunes of AB improved dramatically, ushering in two decades of growth which emerged the modern campus and identity.
Under his leadership, the majority of the campus was built and it grew from three buildings to a flourishing hub of 14 including the construction of Paul Jones Hall, Funkhouser Auditorium, Pickett Library, Priestley Hall, Heiner Hall, Kemper-Redd, Wilcox Chapel, Rex Pyles Arena, among others. Within the center of the AB campus stands the Shearer Quadrangle dedicated to Dr. Shearer for the multitude of structures that were built under his administration.
In 1968, the college established the first baccalaureate physician assistant program in the country. In addition, and amid a variety of other new academic and athletic programs, enrollment skyrocketed and AB was fast becoming a nationally recognized institution for its quality education and programs.
As an ordained minister with the American Baptist Churches, Dr. Shearer considered his work at AB a mission and ministry, and so it has been – but so much more. With his intense faith, love for learning, and natural leadership abilities, Alderson-Broaddus College was a perfect fit for him to fulfill a role in administration within an academic setting.
He is survived by his three children, Richard J. Shearer (and wife Candy); Patricia L. Wilson (and husband Dr. Richard Wilson); and Suzanne G. Jones, of Huntington (whose late husband was Dr. Terry Jones) as well as seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.