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Philanthropist Raymond Osterhout dies

Retired insurance executive and philanthropist Raymond Osterhout, 78, who received an honorary degree at Binghamton University’s May 2008 Commencement, died at his home in Florida on Dec. 15.

Osterhout and his wife, Wanda, donated $2 million to the University —
$1 million to establish the Ray and Wanda Osterhout Distinguished Professorship in Entrepreneurship in the School of Management and $1 million for an endowment in support of the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts.

“Raymond Osterhout was very talented and very generously shared his expertise with students and faculty. We will miss him greatly,” President Lois B. DeFleur said. “He and his wife, Wanda, have been among our strongest supporters, and their gifts have enabled academic, artistic and cultural initiatives that touch our students, faculty, staff and surrounding community and that will benefit generations to come.”

Floyd Herzog, producer/director of the Anderson Center, and SOM Dean Upinder Dhillon both spoke highly of Osterhout’s contributions.

“Ray, along with his wife, Wanda, strengthened both the financial health and the artistic vision of the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts,” said Herzog. “Their gift certainly has helped to stabilize the center during these fragile times, which are greatly impacting the arts.” 

“Ray’s investments of time and financial support were critical in advancing the School of Management’s entrepreneurship program to national prominence,” Dhillon said. “The curriculum was built on his vision of innovation and excellence and he mentored graduates to develop the hands-on knowledge needed to launch successful new businesses in today’s complex economic environment. His friendship, wit and humor and will be deeply missed.”

Osterhout worked for Kemper Insurance before moving on to the reinsurance field. He rose to president of the National Reinsurance Corp. before serving as chairman, president and CEO of American Independent Reinsurance Corp., part of Aetna Life and Casualty Co. After selling that firm, Osterhout worked for Swiss Reinsurance Corp. as group vice president and underwriting and marketing manager. He retired in 2002. He served on the Binghamton University Foundation Audit Committee, the School of Management’s Dean’s Advisory Board and was a member of the Binghamton University Forum.

Osterhout and his wife received the Binghamton University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 2005. A Masonic service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, and a celebration of his life will follow at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, Chapel Street, Windsor. A reception at the church will follow immediately. Donations in Osterhout’s memory may be made to the United Methodist Church, Windsor. 
 

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Last Updated: 10/14/08