PORTSMOUTH- Chris Lute is quick in responding why his family and their company have been long-time supporters of Shawnee State University.
“There are so many possibilities and so much potential, right here in our region,” he said. “Some young people move away believing there are no opportunities here. That is not the case, and we need to empower our students to help build more business and industry right here in southern Ohio.”
In February 2022, SSU officially named the C.H. Lute School of Business, which honors three generations of the Lute family: Lute Supply Inc.’s founder, the late Caleb Hobert (“Hobe”) Lute; son, Christopher H. (Chris) Lute, and grandson, current CEO/President, Jason Christopher Lute. A dedication ceremony was held on Oct. 19, 2022.
“By supporting SSU students studying business practices, entrepreneurship and other approaches to success, we can strengthen our economy as well as the quality of life in our community,” Chris said.
Chris and his wife, Marilyn, have been dedicated supporters of university projects over the years. In addition to significant monetary support, Chris was a leader in SSU’s “Reach for the Stars” capital campaign and Marilyn served on the SSU Development Foundation Board and the board of the Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association in partnership with the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. In 2003, the family established the Lute Family Scholarship, which provides an endowment for SSU students majoring in business.
Hobert Lute, along with his wife, Izetta, started the family business out of his garage as Lute Pump Sales on Argonne Road in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1952. He quickly expanded into a range of plumbing and supply services. Today the company includes 11 stores in four states. As a wholesale distributor, it primarily serves contractors with heating and air conditioning (HVAC) supplies, and also provides plumbing, kitchen, bath and hardware in some locations, including Rosemount.