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Home Academics Center for Engaged Learning Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership

Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership

Developing ethical leaders

The Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership offers you opportunities to develop into an outstanding leader—on campus and in the “real world.” Your evolution into a leader will take many forms, with chances to hone your skills in four major focus areas:

  • Academic
  • Student Life
  • Research
  • Community Involvement

The myriad opportunities are linked by a common theme: ethical leadership. The College seeks to create leaders who will graduate and go out into the world to make it a better place, taking what they’ve learned as undergraduates and implementing it as alumni.

Zane D. Showker—businessman, philanthropist and generous friend of Bridgewater College—was a role model of leadership and civic responsibility. Showker gave the College $1 million in 2002 to establish the Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership.

The youngest of nine children, Showker was proud that his parents named him after novelist Zane Grey. Both his parents died when he was 12 years old. Determined to take care of himself, Showker began delivering newspapers in Craigsville, Va. After attending the University of Richmond for one year, he joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II.

In 1950, he established Harrisonburg Fruit and Produce as owner and general manager. The company thrived, and, in 1974, it merged with SYSCO Food Services, the nation’s largest wholesale food distributor. Showker served as president and general manager until 1991, when he became chairman emeritus of SYSCO Food Services of Virginia.

Showker’s entrepreneurial spirit was not limited to one company. He was also involved in numerous business partnerships throughout the Shenandoah Valley, encouraging the growth of small business in the area. He served as president and board member for many organizations and received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his contributions to the community.

Questions? Contact us!

Dr. Randy Young
Director of the Zane D. Showker Institute for Responsible Leadership