Perhaps no one has given back more to his alma mater than 1958 civil engineering graduate Jerry Lohr, whose passion for SDSU is clear and evident.
“Education was always a big thing in my family,” said Lohr. “I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for the education I received at SDSU. The university does an excellent job of providing not just an education, but a life transition.”
Growing up on a hard-working family farm near Raymond, Lohr now is president and owner of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, home to 150 employees and 3,400 acres of grapes in northern California and the central coast of California. Since forming the business in 1974, it consistently ranks as one of the top wine producing companies in the United States.
He is co-chairman of “It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University.” Entering the final year of a six-year initiative, pledges and gifts have totaled $186.1 million from 20,823 different donors as of June 1. A few years before, Lohr chaired the university’s previous comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Visions for the Future.”
Lohr was a major voice in the renovation and expansion of Crothers Engineering Hall and Solberg Hall. When SDSU was going through the process of moving from NCAA Division II to Division I, Lohr traveled to the state to give a personal testimonial in support of the move.
The home of the SDSU Foundation was renamed the Jerome L. Lohr Building on April 26, 2012, in honor of his longtime volunteer efforts for the foundation. In addition, he played a key role in concept development, fundraising and design for the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, which was renamed Daktronics Engineering Hall on the same day.
Retzlaff was one of SDSU’s greatest all-time student-athletes. He starred in football and track and field for two years, setting 16 school records during the 1951-52 and 1952-53 seasons.
A two-time all-North Central Conference selection, Retzlaff set the SDSU single-season rushing record at the time with 1,016 yards in 1951. He also set school, conference and NAIA records in both the shot put and discus, leading the Jacks to the national track team championship in 1953.
A 1953 State graduate, Retzlaff’s accomplishments in track and field were just as impressive. He was the NAIA champion in the shot put and discus twice, setting national marks in both events as a senior. At the conference meet that year, Retzlaff scored 34 points, taking first in the shot put, first in the discus, first in the high jump and fourth in the javelin.
Retzlaff enjoyed a stellar 11-year National Football League career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Known as “Pistol Pete” or “The Baron,” he set Eagle receiving records for most passes caught in a season, most caught in a career and most yards receiving in a career. When he retired, his jersey number 44 also was retired. A five-time selection to the Pro Bowl, he was hired as vice president and general manager of the Eagles. Retzlaff was inducted into the Jackrabbit Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.
Stanley M. Shaw
Stan Shaw, who earned his bachelor’s (1957) and master’s (1959) degrees from the College of Pharmacy, was a pioneer in nuclear pharmacy. In early 1962, he joined the newly formed Department of Bionucleonics at Purdue University. In 1972, he was part of group who initiated a courses geared toward competence in nuclear pharmacy.
He developed a nuclear pharmacist newsletter, took part in planning sessions, and helped organize the first one-day session on nuclear pharmacy at the national meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1974.
The success of that gathering led to the formation of the APhA Section on Nuclear Pharmacy in 1975. Within a few years, nuclear pharmacy became the first professional area in pharmacy to be officially recognized as a specialty practice.
In 2000, at the 25th anniversary of the creation of the section, Shaw was recognized as a pioneer in nuclear pharmacy and received the Smith Practice Excellence Award.
Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1954 and a master’s degree in education in 1969.
With a career as an English teacher and school counselor at several public schools, Sneve is a renowned author of books for children and adults.
Sneve began her professional writing career in 1972 with the publication of “Jimmy Yellow Hawk,” which won the Native American category in a contest sponsored by the Interracial Council of Minority Books for Children. Since then, she has published 16 children’s books of fiction and non-fiction.
Sneve was first inspired to write juvenile literature when she discovered that books available to her own young children reflected only stereotypical representations of their native heritage. A need for the realistic portrayal of American Indians prompted Sneve to draw on her native background and fill that void herself.
Among the many awards she has received over the years include the South Dakota Governor’s Award in the Arts for Distinction in Creative Achievement in 2007 and the National Endowment for the Humanities Medalist in 2000.
Sneve lives in Rapid City with her husband, Vance. They have three children and four grandchildren.