In scientific circles, Professor of Chemistry Emerita Anne Sherren is known for her scholarship. But when she talks about her 35 years teaching at North Central, it becomes clear that her real passion is working with students, many of whom became accomplished scientists, physicians and teachers.
As one of very few women in science when she taught, Sherren served as a particularly important role model and inspiration for female chemistry majors. “They could look at me and say, ‘If Dr. Sherren can succeed in this field, then so can I!’” she said. In the 16 years since her retirement, Sherren has continued supporting students through her generous gifts to a scholarship established and named in her honor. She also was one of the earliest donors to the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center and has steadily given to it ever since.
She has carried many North Central memories into retirement. They include a laboratory accident that left one student’s safety glasses melted—“He would certainly have gone blind without those glasses”—as well as the day she told a student to wrap his feet in plastic grocery bags because he was wearing sandals rather than closed-toe shoes in the lab. (She was delighted to model protective goggles for the photo above.)
Some of her favorite stories center on the dinner parties that she and her husband, Bill, hosted for students each year. “The dinners gave us a chance to teach students about fine dining and the science of cooking,” she said. “We gave each dish a chemical name: ‘Precipitated nickel hydroxide with contamination’ was green peas with mushrooms and ‘complex carbohydrates’ was dinner rolls.” Sherren also let students watch as she prepared Baked Alaska for dessert. “They always expected the ice cream to melt when the meringue was put in the oven to brown!” she recalled.
When Sherren retired, the College’s trustees established the Dr. Anne T. Sherren Scholarship Fund in her honor. Generous former students and colleagues also helped fund the scholarship, and Sherren and her husband recently established an annuity to support it in perpetuity.
“Bill and I have a saying: We have faith in tomorrow because of the youth of today,” she said. “We need to train the leaders who will come after us. We need to look out for the next generation.”
Visit northcentralcollege.edu/give and select "endowment giving opportunities" to give to the Sherren Scholarship Fund or other scholarships.
Anne Sherren in lab, circa 1970
“We need to train the leaders who will come after us.” Anne Sherren