Sherry Adrian, Ms. Homecoming
Associate Professor of Education Sherry Adrian has said that preparing future educators is both challenging and exhilarating, but it is her relationship with students that strongly influences why and how she teaches. She believes that the best way to teach effectively is to know her students and to be known by them.
One of Sherry’s former students says that she modeled the dedication that it takes to be an educator by working long hours and gathering an abundance of resources to help her quench her thirst for understanding.
Sherry does keep long hours. Her students know they can drop by outside of office hours and that Sherry will stop what she’s doing to address their needs. In fact, she maintains a very generous schedule, often making appointments that better fit a college student’s life—in the evening and on weekends. She has even hosted late night work sessions for her students.
Sherry says she uses humor, storytelling and “theatrics” as important aspects of her teaching. And her daughter, Adriane, would agree, saying that as her professor Sherry was not only direct, but funny. She and other students also describe Sherry as fair and understanding, and that she always provides good feedback.
As her mother, Adriane says Sherry is kind, gentle, supportive and silly and at the same time fiercely loving and protective while fostering independence. Sherry’s long-time partner, Steve, shares that Sherry is a unique person who has accomplished much and has been an inspiration to many people.
Everyone who knows Sherry knows that she is a champion of the “underdog” whether in the form of women, children, people of color, members of the LGBT community, people with limited incomes or people with disabilities. That in itself is to be celebrated, but the way in which Sherry works toward that goal is what Adriane says is truly amazing about her mother.
Sherry is able to encourage and support the innate desires of others to support the underdog, but more impressive, she is able to foster change in people who do not easily see the connection between themselves and those who are different from them. Through her own authenticity, Sherry is able to get the same authenticity from others and to plant the seed of support, love and care for the underdog.
She is deeply passionate about the power of education to change people’s lives and the part that teachers play in the learning process. Steve says that Sherry believes in training each individual teacher so that they will then influence others over their lives and through their careers; she works to help create individuals who go out and contribute to the world.
Adriane adds that while her mom enjoys being social, Sherry tends to feel more herself when she can have connected and close conversations with individuals or small groups of people that she likes and trusts. She says, “When I think about my mom’s contributions toward humanity, I feel overwhelmed. But upon further reflection, I see how quickly those small groups, over the years, have had a larger impact on humanity as a whole.”
Sherry’s former students say that she is a living example of what they want their students to grow up to be. They say Sherry has overcome all obstacles that have come her way; has set goals to achieve the highest level that she can attain in order to be certain that her skills reflect the latest and greatest innovations for educators; and she follows through even with the minutest of details to help ensure the success of her students.
As evidence of Sherry’s success at making a profound and deep impact on others, students, alumni and colleagues over the years have been compelled to continue to communicate and connect with her. Adriane sees these individual connections weaving a web of support for so many different kinds of people, and says that they inevitably impact humanity as a whole for the better.
Sherry’s roles as mother, grandmother and teacher are all very important to her, and she has achieved much in each of them. But, she always gives the spotlight to others before herself. Her students say Sherry deserves many awards but continues to be a humble honoree, and Adriane and Steve agree that a celebration of Sherry is long overdue.
For instilling confidence in her students—convincing them that the sky’s the limit and to never give up hope—for her unwavering support of those considered underdogs, and for always being there—day and night—for her family and her students, The Association of Southwestern University Alumni proudly presented Sherry Adrian with the 2013 Ms. Homecoming Award.