In an email to the Hamilton community on April 16, President David Wippman announced the death of Life Trustee Hans H. Schambach '43.
I write to inform you of the sad news that life trustee Hans H. Schambach '43 has died. He was 97.
Hans was an unassuming, generous and hard-working man who loved the College. At the age of 14, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1935 to live with his aunt and uncle who were the cooks and custodians at the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house. He assisted with the chores at the house before and after attending school in the Village.
Hans entered Hamilton in 1939 and began working his way through college, but when World War II broke out he was interned, due to his German heritage, at a camp run by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Bismarck, N.D., until the end of the war.
In 1947, he established Hamilton Cast Corp., which was named for his alma mater, and fabricated precious metals primarily for the jewelry industry. The company merged with Atlantic Oil Corp. in 1972 and Hans became chairman of the Atlantic Board. After retiring in 1980, he oversaw a vineyard and winery in Italy and devoted more time to collecting rare musical instruments. The collection, which grew to include two priceless Stradivarius violins, was first publicly displayed in 1983 at Hamilton's Emerson Gallery.
Hans believed a college education was available to him only because of the scholarship he received to attend Hamilton. In 1983 – as a means of repaying a "debt to the people of Central New York, the College and the country" – he contributed $1 million to endow a scholarship fund for promising students in need of financial aid (recipients are expected to cover part of their college expenses with on-campus employment). At the time, it was the largest single scholarship endowment ever established at Hamilton, and many current and former students have been able to attend Hamilton because of Hans' generosity. His philanthropy also made possible the Schambach Center for Music and the Performing Arts.
Hans was elected an alumni trustee in 1980, a charter trustee in 1983 and was serving as a life trustee at the time of his death. The College presented him with an honorary degree in 1988.