The arts community of the Miami Valley region was sadden with the passing of Dr. Ben Schuster last Friday, August 24. For those who knew him, Dr. Schuster was a generous, intelligent, and dedicated physician and a true “arts patron.” He loved the arts and he supported them both financially and with his presence and encouragement. I spend a lot of time at the Schuster Center and the Victoria Theatre and I could count on Ben’s attendance in the audience as an almost given.
Dr. Schuster’s legacy and leadership will have long term impact in the Miami Valley and especially within the Arts community. Always with a smile and an encouraging word, Dr. Schuster helped make it possible for hundreds of thousands of Miami Valley citizens to experience world-class performing arts events that would not have been possible without the state-of-the art facility that bears his and his late wife Marian’s name. For me, Dr. Schuster was the epitome of a great Trustee–he was generous, encouraging, and supportive. He pushed everyone to succeed at the highest levels–because that was the level of success he demanded of himself. We have all lost a friend, a mentor, and above all an arts patron in the truest sense of the word.
From extremely humble beginnings in Wisconsin, Dr. Benjamin Schuster became one of Dayton’s most treasured humanitarians. A generous and gracious man, Dr. Schuster possessed a vision of a Dayton with a flourishing arts community and he lived to see it happen. Through his love of the arts, dedication to the community and generosity of spirit, Dr. Schuster laid a foundation of support and trust by making the lead gift to establish a world-class performing arts center in downtown Dayton, a gift that gave birth to the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. The Schuster Center is poised to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2013 and continues its namesake’s legacy of service, community and commitment to the Arts.
I saw Ben earlier on the morning of the day he passed away. He was smiling, joking with the security guards at Performance Place, and he said he was looking forward to a meeting we had scheduled so I could bring him up to date on some new initiatives at Victoria Theatre Association. That meeting was scheduled for 2 p.m. today and now I am writing this blog post at 2 p.m. instead.
We’ll miss you, Ben. Rest in peace.