The Foundation Building at South Dakota State University was recently renamed for Jerome J. (“Jerry”) Lohr . Approximately, thirty-five family members were there to help celebrate this memorable event.
Jerry’s leadership, generosity, and impact at SDSU (“Hurrah for the yellow and blue”) has truly created a “culture of giving” at South Dakota’s land-grant university.
(The scanned text from the dedication program is difficult to read so I have entered it below)
Jerome J. “Jerry” Lohr is widely considered one of South Dakota State University’s most influential and impactful alumni because of his extraordinary generosity and leadership on behalf of the university.
Lohr grew up in rural South Dakota, the oldest of five children born to Walter and Frances Lohr near Raymond in Clark County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from SDSU in 1958 and his master’s degree in civil engineering from Stanford University in 1959. From 1961 to 1965, he serves as a research scientist and captain in the U.S. Air Force with duty at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field.
Lohr created successful companies in California. J.Lohr Properties developed land and built custom homes, condominiums and town-homes in Santa Clara and Monterrey counties. The J.Lohr Winery was found in 1974 with national product distribution beginning in 1979.
Lohr always maintained his roots in South Dakota and his connection to his alma mater. He joined the Foundation board in 1988 and served as board chair from 1992 to 1994. He was chair of the university’s first comprehensive campaign, Visions for the Future, from 1994 through 1998. He co-chaired SDSU’s second campaign, It Starts with STATE: A Campaign for South Dakota State University, from 2007 through 2012.
His awards from SDSU include Distinguished Alumnus (1983) and Distinguished Engineer (1998). His Foundation involvement was so profound that the organization created the Jerome J. Lohr Award in 1999 to recognize members of the Foundation’s Council of Trustees who demonstrate exemplary volunteer leadership and outstanding philanthropic support.
The Foundation leadership voted to name the building in Lohr’s honor in April 2012 “in recognition of his personal generosity and his work to create the ‘culture of giving,’ that has helped transform South Dakota State University.”
Lorh has three children: Steven, Cynthia and Lawrence. His first wife, Carol, passed away in August 2008. On October 10, 2009, Jerry married Jolene Johnson Barber, a 1959 SDSU graduate.