Sherry B. Gill, longtime director of the university's
Office of Special Events, died June 27 at her Towson home,
apparently of natural causes. She was 66.
Gill came to Johns Hopkins in 1966 as an assistant in
Special Events and became director in 1970, a position she
held until her retirement in 1994.
During her 28 years at Homewood, she organized and
presented many of the university's most prestigious lecture
series, bringing to the campus and the city free speeches
by such figures as U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and South African
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as notable men and women
from the worlds of literature and journalism.
She also 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
And every May, she focused her energies on the
university's largest event — commencement, a highly
complex and demanding production requiring the showmanship
of a Hollywood producer and the attention to detail of a
"She was up to the task, no doubt about it," said
Dennis O'Shea, executive director of the Office of
Communications and Public Affairs, who worked with Gill on
publicizing events. "Thanks to Sherry, tens of thousands of
Johns Hopkins students got a sendoff into the real world
with appropriate pomp and circumstance."
In the course of running commencement for all those
years, she hosted numerous notable speakers including
composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, Federal Reserve
Board chairman Paul Volcker, actor John Houseman,
sportscaster Howard Cosell, U.N. Secretary General Javier
Perez de Cuellar, New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Canadian
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
"She was the Hopkins impresario," Ross Jones, vice
president and secretary emeritus, told The Baltimore
Sun. "It was a great Hopkins era, and she loved every
minute of it."
Gill is survived by two daughters, six grandchildren
and her mother. Robert Gill, her husband of 26 years, died