Schuhmacher family legacy continues in Alva

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Schuhmacher family legacy continues in Alva

Northwestern Foundation Release

June 19, 2012 – With a gift of $50,000 to the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation, a scholarship established by the late Dr. John Schuhmacher will give assistance to students in need at his alma mater and continue the Schuhmacher legacy in the Alva community.

Full-time incoming freshmen, continuing or transferring students with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average are eligible for the Schuhmacher Family Scholarship. Applicants must be active in a minimum of one significant activity or sport and majoring in science. The scholarship may be applied toward university-related expenses, such as tuition, fees, room, board or books.

“We are extremely grateful to the Schuhmacher family for their vision to help students better themselves and the community,” Dr. Mike Knedler, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said. “We are excited to have this opportunity available to support deserving students in their pursuit of careers in the sciences and appreciate the loyalty of John Schuhmacher and his family to Northwestern and its mission.”

The Schuhmacher name came to Alva in 1901 when John Schuhmacher’s grandfather Louis Schuhmacher and his half brother opened a drug store selling medicine, paint and wallpaper. After a year passed, Louis Schuhmacher took over full ownership and married his longtime love Julia Howard and had three children: Louise, Franklin and Howard.

John Schuhmacher, the son of Franklin Schuhmacher, graduated from Northwestern in 1962 before graduating from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. After leaving Oklahoma, he would practice neurological surgery in New Orleans, La., for nearly 40 years.

Franklin Schuhmacher attended Northwestern before transferring to Georgia Tech University. He also served in the US Navy during World War II. Following the war, he took over Schuhmacher Drug, and in 1960, his brother Howard Schuhmacher became the owner and continued to operate the store until his retirement. The Schuhmacher Drug building still stands in its original site on the west side of the Alva town square.

John Schuhmacher made this scholarship possible for students who need assistance and take their education seriously.

“My dad always stressed the importance of education,” John’s son Blake Schuhmacher said. “He grew up in Alva and always considered Oklahoma home. He always wanted to give back to the place that gave him a start.”

The Schuhmacher family would also like for the students to better themselves and the community, he said.

Dr. Janet Cunningham, president of Northwestern, said, “Our science students have been very successful in being admitted to professional and graduate schools. This scholarship will help students get a great start at the undergraduate level.”

For more information about investing in Northwestern students, call Skeeter Bird, Northwestern Foundation CEO, at 580-327-8599 or email him at