Sch­leiger, for­mer Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege pres­i­dent, dies

Record Observer - - Obituaries - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY ck­ersey@ches­pub.com

WYE MILLS — Robert Carl­ton Sch­leiger, for­mer Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege pres­i­dent and long-time res­i­dent of the Centreville, died peace­fully on Satur­day, Dec. 31, 2016, at his res­i­dence at Brook­dale As­sisted Liv­ing in Manas­sas, Va. He was 90.

Af­ter his pass­ing, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege re­leased a state­ment, prais­ing his lead­er­ship for the col­lege’s growth dur­ing his term. Sch­leiger was in­au­gu­rated as Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege’s sec­ond pres­i­dent in 1976.

As en­roll­ment at Ch­e­sa­peake con­tin­ued to climb and cam­pus build­ings were fully used, the col­lege of­fered credit and non-credit cour­ses at lo­ca­tions through­out the four sup­port coun­ties and in Dorch­ester County.

The vote by Dorch­ester County in June 1979 to join Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege as a full-sup­port county was a di­rect out­growth of the first full-time satel­lite cen­ter in Cam­bridge, which opened in Au­gust 1978.

An Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter was con­structed in 1989 to serve the par­ents of preschool­ers who are stu­dents at the Col­lege, fac­ulty and staff mem­bers, and the com­mu­nity. The cen­ter also pro­vides class­room ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents pur­su­ing a ca­reer in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion.

“Dr. Sch­leiger led the col­lege through a pe­riod of ex­tra­or­di­nary growth and com­mu­nity ex­pan­sion. Even now, 25 years af­ter his re­tire­ment, Ch­e­sa­peake is still ben­e­fit­ting from Dr. Sch­leiger’s vi­sion,” said Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege Pres­i­dent Bar­bara A. Viniar.

Born in June, 1926 in Omaha, Ne­braska, Sch­leiger at­tended Omaha North High School at the start of World War II. A tall, strong and gifted ath­lete, he let­tered in four sports all three years, and turned down an of­fer to play pro­fes­sional base­ball upon grad­u­a­tion.

He then re­ceived an ap­point­ment to West Point where he had the priv­i­lege of play­ing on the leg­endary 1945 Na­tional Cham­pion Army foot­ball team with Doc Blan­chard, Glen Davis, Bar­ney Poole and other no­ta­bles, and main­tained friend­ships with team mem­bers through­out his life.

As the war ended, Sch­leiger trans­ferred to and even­tu­ally grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Ne­braska with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in busi­ness, let­ter­ing in foot­ball and base­ball.

He then be­gan work as a high school teacher and coach, which even­tu­ally led to work in ad­ver­tis­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions. Around the same time, he met the love of his life, Jo Anne Stro­bel. They mar­ried in 1953.

As Sch­leiger’s ca­reer in busi­ness ad­vanced, his in­ter­est in the emerg­ing field of con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion led him to pur­sue a doc­tor­ate in Ed­u­ca­tion.

While writ­ing his dis­ser­ta­tion, he helped de­velop and run a Boot Strap pro­gram for Strate­gic Air Com­mand of­fi­cers sta­tioned at nearby Of­futt Air Force Base. This de­gree pro­gram, formed in part­ner­ship with the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa, made it pos­si­ble for SAC of­fi­cers to take grad­u­ate-level cour­ses while sta­tioned at SAC bases through­out the world. More than 5,000 stu­dents en­rolled in the pro­gram dur­ing its first two years. He then worked to es­tab­lish a state-wide com­mu­nity col­lege sys­tem in the state of Ne­braska.

In 1976, he left Ne­braska to ac­cept an of­fer to serve as pres­i­dent of Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege in Wye Mills. Here, he worked to launch scores of new pro­fes­sional and en­rich­ment pro­grams, and be­came heav­ily in­volved in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for the re­gion. He was in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the Queen Anne’s County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion and was its chair­man for many years. He also helped cre­ate Ch­e­sa­peake Coun­try, a re­gional mar­ket­ing con­sor­tium, and served on its board of di­rec­tors from 1982 to 1995. And he be­came an ac­tive mem­ber of Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional.

For more than 25 years, he ap­plied his vi­tal­ity and ami­able lead­er­ship skills to ben­e­fit his com­mu­nity, trav­el­ing the world as a spir­ited emis­sary for the state of Mary­land and the East­ern Shore, and work­ing tire­lessly to build a bet­ter Mary­land through ed­u­ca­tion, ser­vice, and op­por­tu­nity.

In 1991, he was pre­sented with the Pate Award, Mary­land’s high­est award for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and in 1996 was hon­ored by the South­ern Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil for his vol­un­teer ser­vice and ded­i­ca­tion to his com­mu­nity.

He was a hum­ble man and led a prayer­ful, in­de­pen­dent life vig­or­ously pur­su­ing work he en­joyed and deemed worth­while and valu­able to the com­mu­nity. Dur­ing the last few years of his life, when he was in need of health­care as­sis­tance in his home, most of his ca­pa­ble nurses and care­givers were grad­u­ates of the very same Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege health­care and nurs­ing pro­grams he helped cre­ate.

Sch­leiger was ex­tremely proud of each and ev­ery one of his helpers, and they ten­derly cared for him with a deep sense of honor and ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

His daugh­ter, Anne Sch­leiger Hall (Ja­son) of Cen­trev- ille, de­scribed her fa­ther as al­ways putting fam­ily first and sup­port­ive of his fam­ily’s in­ter­ests and con­cerns.

“He was al­ways ver y pa­tient and kind. A great prob­lem solver and ed­u­ca­tor. Al­ways an ed­u­ca­tor. When my sis­ter or I faced with a prob­lem, he would en­cour­age us to think it out — to ex­am­ine all the op­tions, and take in­formed ac­tions,” Hall said. “At the same time, dad was pure ac­tion — quick to jump in, get in­volved and make a dif­fer­ence. He was very project-ori­ented and thrived on ac­tion.”

He is sur­vived by his de­voted wife of 64 years, Jo Anne Stro­bel Sch­leiger of Manas­sas, Va.; his two daugh­ters Anne Sch­leiger Hall (Ja­son) of Centreville, Va. and Karin Sch­leiger Tad­lock (Ti­mothy) of Jack­sonville, Fla.; and four grand­chil­dren: Elena Hall Coyne (Wil­liam), Gor­don Hall, Lauren Dick­son and Kristo­pher Dick­son.

In lieu of flow­ers, con­sider mak­ing a do­na­tion to the Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege Foun­da­tion, P.O. Box 8, Wye Mills, MD 21679 and ref­er­ence “In Mem­ory of Robert C. Sch­leiger” on your check. Do­na­tions can also be made on­line through the Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege Foun­da­tion web­site.

ROBERT C. SCH­LEIGER

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