Sherry B. Gill, 66, ran JHU commencements

July 01, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Sherry B. Gill, who ran commencements and special events at the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus before her retirement, died of apparent natural causes Monday at her Towson home. She was 66.

Born Sherry Semmes Bowling in Baltimore and raised in Northwood, she attended St. Mary's Parochial School and was a 1956 graduate of Maryvale Preparatory School. She attended Villa Julie and Johns Hopkins.

Mrs. Gill began as an assistant in the Hopkins Office of Special Events in 1966 and was named its director four years later.

"She oversaw the university's commencement, a highly complex and demanding annual production requiring the showmanship of a Hollywood producer and the attention to detail of a brain surgeon," said Dennis O'Shea, the university spokesman. "She was up to the task, no doubt about it."

Mrs. Gill hosted speakers including composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein; Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul A. Volcker; actors Cary Grant, John Houseman and Grace Kelly; sportscaster Howard Cosell; United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar; New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo; and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

"She was the Hopkins impresario," said Ross Jones, the school's vice president and secretary emeritus. "It was a great Hopkins era, and she loved every minute of it."

Mrs. Gill organized and presented many of the university's lecture series and helped bring to campus then-U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, then-president Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with other figures from the worlds of literature and journalism.

Colleagues at the Homewood campus said she originated the Wednesday Noon Series, a long-running and eclectic program of free lunch-hour lectures, concerts, films, workshops and performances that drew audiences of faculty, staff, students and community members to the university's library or Shriver Hall. She retired in 1994.

She was a volunteer at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Baltimore.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, York and Overbrook roads, Rodgers Forge.

Survivors include two daughters, Kelly Gill Chesser of Pinehurst in Baltimore County and Erin Gill Reilly of Dorset, Vt.; her mother, Gladys R. Bowling of Lutherville; and six grandchildren. Her husband of 26 years, Robert T. Gill, a United Methodist minister, died in 2001.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.