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Walter A. Sherrill

Memorial services for Walter A. Sherrill, 57, an award-winning Kenwood Academy faculty member who went on to teach at prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., will be at 7 p.m. April 2 in Cochran Chapel at Phillips.

He died of cancer Friday in Holy Family Hospital, Methuen, Mass.

Mr. Sherrill, formerly of the South Side, taught chemistry and physical science at Kenwood from 1968 to 1988.

He was among the first group of Chicago area teachers to receive a Golden Apple Award from the Foundation for Excellence in 1986. At the time, he told the Chicago Sun-Times that he stressed qualities that also would help students in everything, "for what is successful in school is also successful in life."

While he and other Board of Education teachers were on strike in the fall of 1987, he tutored his advanced chemistry students in a South Side bank boardroom. The students were preparing for a national examination in which they could earn college credit.

Mr. Sherrill's reputation for encouraging minority students attracted the attention of Phillips Academy, an independent boarding high school that includes former President George Bush and actor Jack Lemmon among its alumni.

In 1988, Phillips asked him to head its noted (MS)2 program. It prepares talented minority public high school students for college by giving intensive training in mathematics and the sciences during the summer. The rest of the time, he taught chemistry at Phillips.

As director of (MS)2, he helped send more than 200 participants onto such schools as MIT, Amherst, Harvard and Dartmouth, among others. He also established a weekly cultural seminar for (MS)2 students, an alumni association and a Walker Memorial Lectureship, which brought distinquished minority people to serve as role models in math and science.

"Walter Sherrill's vision and extraordinary effort have made (MS)2 a nationally recognized academic outreach program," said Phillips' School Head Barbara Landis Chase. "He had extremely high expectations of his students and at the same time he showed a deep support for them. The combination worked pure magic."

Mr. Sherrill was born in Chicago. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Michigan State University and a master's from Roosevelt University. He taught at Phillips High School here before leaving the country to teach the children of military personnel in France and Germany from 1965 to 1968.

He leaves his mother, Inez, and a brother, Charles.

Plans for a memorial service in Chicago are pending.

Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Date: March 14, 1995