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In memoriam: Forrest N. Shumway, 85

Forrest Shumway was elected to the USC Board of Trustees in 1968 and chaired the finance committee during the 1970s.

Forrest N. Shumway, former vice chairman of Allied-Signal Inc. and former chairman and CEO of the Signal Companies Inc., died on Dec. 4 in San Diego. He was 85.

“The entire Trojan Family mourns the loss of Forrest Shumway,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “He was a modest man who was quick to give credit to others, but be assured, during more than four decades of dedicated service to the university, he played an integral role in building the fiscal security and academic stature that USC enjoys today. His wise counsel and sense of humor will be deeply missed.”

Shumway, a native of Skowhegan, Maine, and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, graduated from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass., in 1945. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1950 and his law degree in 1952 from Stanford University.

After graduation, he served for four years as a senior law clerk and deputy county counsel in the office of the Los Angeles County Counsel. At age 27, he was being recruited for an appointment to the state bench when Signal Oil and Gas Co. offered him a job.

Shumway joined Signal’s legal department in 1957. Two years later, he was named secretary of the company, and he became assistant general counsel in 1960. He was appointed president of Signal in 1964, just before his 37th birthday, and president and CEO in April 1968. Under Shumway’s leadership, Signal, which had been founded by one of his uncles as an energy company, diversified to encompass enterprises ranging from broadcasting and sports to engineering and construction.

He also served on Signal’s board of directors for nearly three decades. As chairman of the board, he helped engineer the company’s merger with Allied Corp. in 1985. He retired as vice chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee of Allied-Signal Inc., in 1987.

Shumway’s association with USC began in 1968, when Leonard Firestone, Justin Dart and a couple of other USC trustees approached him about joining the university’s board. Although his chief loyalty at the time was with Stanford, Shumway was persuaded by the men’s ambition to build a truly great university.

He was elected to the USC Board of Trustees in 1968 and chaired the finance committee during the 1970s, a period when he also served as university treasurer. He took a lead in fundraising efforts in the 1980s and helped direct what at the time was one of the most successful campaigns in higher education, raising $641.6 million in cash and pledges over a period of six years.

From 1990 to 1995, Shumway served as chairman of the board. In that capacity, he presided over the recruitment of Steven B. Sample as the university’s 10th president in 1991.

In addition to serving on USC’s board, Shumway was a member of the board of overseers of the University of California, San Diego. He sat on a variety of corporate boards as well, including those of Alcoa, Culter-Hammer, American President Lines, Magnavox, Clorox, First Interstate Bank, W. R. Grace, Transamerica, Golden West Broadcasters and the James Irvine Foundation.

He and his wife extended their philanthropic support to a variety of educational institutions, including Stanford, the University of San Diego and the University of Tennessee, where the Forrest & Patsy Shumway Chair in Romance Language bears their name. Cultural organizations benefitting from the Shumways’ generosity included the Old Globe theater in San Diego, the San Diego Opera and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Shumway was also a member of St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla, Calif.

In 1974, Shumway received an honorary doctorate from USC. He also held honorary degrees from Husson University, Pepperdine University and Michigan Technological University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the Republic of France in 1983.

In 1978, the Boy Scouts of America honored Shumway with its highest commendation, the Silver Buffalo Award, recognizing distinguished service to youth on a national scale.

An avid sportsman, Shumway also held the world record for landing a 163-pound Pacific bigeye tuna on a 30-pound test line.

A prominent tribute to his decades of service to USC is the Patsy and Forrest Shumway Fountain, located at the intersection of Trousdale Parkway at Childs Way in the heart of the University Park Campus.

In addition, at USC’s 16th annual Academic Honors Convocation in 1997, Shumway was recognized for his years of dedicated leadership with the Presidential Medallion, the university’s highest award.

Shumway is survived by his wife, Patsy; daughter, Brooks; son, Garrett; grandchildren Kate and Jack; and brother Doug.

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