In Memory: Jim Shuman

Dear Laurentian Community,

I write today to share the sad news that Jim Shuman, associate professor emeritus of education at St. Lawrence, has died. For more than 20 years on this campus, he taught teachers the skills that change lives for the better, including their own.

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Jim excelled in academics, music, and sports in high school.

In 1963, he attended the inaugural class of the National Youth Science Foundation camp in West Virginia. He remained an avid supporter of the organization for the rest of his life.

After receiving his B.S. in Astronomy in 1967 at Carleton College in Minnesota, Jim began traveling and acquiring both the stories and the storytelling skill that delighted family and friends. He later received both M.S and Ed.D. degrees from West Virginia University in educational studies.

Jim found that he had a talent for teaching and committed himself to education. He began as a mathematics instructor, then taught naturalism at a museum in California, then served as the Museum Education Coordinator at the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago. He went on to teach at several colleges and universities across the country. From 1986-87, he served as director of the National Youth Science Camp. In 1989, he joined the faculty at St. Lawrence.

For 23 years at this institution, Jim helped students learn to overcome the hurdles and trials—and embrace the potential and the successes—that are unique to teaching. From 2010-12, he served as the chair for the teacher education program. He also served on several executive boards, including the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the New York State Association for Teacher Educators. Until his passing, he continued to work with the Board of Trustees of the National Youth Science Foundation, which runs the science camp he first attended in 1963.

Across his nearly 50-year career, he shared his love for teaching with students who became teachers and leaders—and who now extend his legacies of knowledge and education.

Jim was a loving partner to his wife, Lauren Buys Shuman, who passed in 2019. His family recalls how they explored life, family, grandchildren, spirituality, fishing, card games with friends, and birding trips, and enjoyed sunsets on the river at their home in Morristown, New York. Jim and Lauren were also ordained Interfaith Minsters who officiated many weddings and ceremonies across the North County and beyond.

As we mourn the loss of our friend, devoted Laurentian, and unwavering advocate for the compassion at the very heart of teaching, we remember how Jim inspired us to come together as a family of learners. From his grateful colleagues, friends, and students, it is clear that his work has ennobled the field of education. It is our honor to ensure that his passion for learning and the lessons he taught continue to reach new generations of students.

Please join us in celebrating Jim’s life by sharing your memories of him on the St. Lawrence University website. You can read the remembrances of others here.


Kate Morris