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Harrisburg University professor who worked to protect frontline workers succumbs to COVID-19

Advanced Manufacturing Program Lead Professor Dr. Charles (Chip) Shearrow produced more than 2,300 face shields for first responders and long-term care workers.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Note: The video above is from April 2020.

A Harrisburg University professor who worked tirelessly to protect frontline workers from contracting COVID-19 during the last year has passed away due to complications related to the coronavirus, the school announced Thursday.

Advanced Manufacturing Program Lead Professor, Dr. Charles (Chip) Shearrow, who produced more than 2,300 face shields for first responders and long-term care workers, lost his battle with COVID-19 Tuesday, the school's communications department said. 

"When COVID-19 struck last year, Chip went into action to produce face shields for frontline workers," the university said in a press release. "Since April, Shearrow spent many of his weekends producing batches of face shields on one of Harrisburg University’s 3D printers. He teamed with the Pennsylvania Health Care Association and other organizations to provide the 3D-printed face shields amid a statewide shortage of personal protective equipment.

"Through October, Shearrow and students, including his son, Charles Shearrow, II, produced 2,344 face shields for those who need them most free of charge."

Shearrow worked as leader of Harrsiburg University's Advanced Manufacturing program since 2018, when he joined the staff after a successful teaching and engineering career.

He spearheaded the university's acquisition of the state-of-the-art equipment HU Advanced Manufacturing students work with, including laser cutting and welding equipment, water jets, Compliance Robots and 3D printers.

"Thanks to Shearrow, the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Program provides students with hands-on experience and introduces them to current technologies and processes," the school said. "Graduates of the program are dependable, pay attention to detail and possess critical thinking and communication skills. They also can be cross-trained, have an interest and aptitude for technology and possess strong critical thinking skills."

University president Dr. Eric D. Darr issued a statement to the HU community following Shearrow's passing.

The statement appears below.

"It is with deep sadness I write to you today about the untimely passing of Dr. Charles (Chip) Shearrow. Chip passed away earlier this week due to complications related to the coronavirus. As many of you have already written and expressed, Chip was not only the leader of our Advanced Manufacturing program, he was a cornerstone of our community.  He approached life with optimism, wit, brilliance and a “can-do” spirit. I will miss Chip!  

"Like many other programs built at Harrisburg University, real marketplace needs led the university to establish its Advanced Manufacturing Bachelor of Science Program under Chip’s direction. It is a program the University expects to flourish and become one of the strongest majors offered at HU. It is the first comprehensive Advanced Manufacturing Program of its kind in the U.S. and only the sixth in the world. Chip firmly believed that our Advanced Manufacturing program will be duplicated in the next five years by other universities around the world. What he built in a short two years will be felt for decades.

"We are working to establish an award for outstanding students as well as a scholarship fund in support of advanced manufacturing students as ways of remembering and honoring Chip’s contributions to the University."