news-category: Faculty Emeriti

Gardner-Webb Faculty Emeritus Sherman Parrish Passes Away

Department of Natural Sciences Leader Established Legacy in Chemistry

Clarence “Sherman” Parrish served Gardner-Webb for over three decades in the Department of Natural Sciences. He was known for his personal investment in students’ success, professional connections, willingness to serve his community, and a calm demeanor. Parrish passed away at age 85 on Aug. 6, 2023.

Parrish was a North Carolina native, born in Roanoke Rapids to Frank and Helen Parrish. Growing up on a family farm in Halifax County, he was no stranger to hard work. Parrish spent time working the fields from an early age, and that even continued during the summers of his college years.

Parrish graduated as class valedictorian from William R. Davie High School in 1956. He attended Berry College in Rome, Ga., from 1956-1960, where he double-majored in chemistry and mathematics. At Berry College he met his wife, Joan Eubanks. After graduation, Parrish began his graduate studies in physical organic chemistry at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Miss., earning his way as a research and laboratory assistant. He and Joan married after a year of graduate studies, and Sherman continued his studies towards a Ph.D. degree and Joan began her studies for a master’s degree in child development.

Parrish began his collegiate teaching career in Campbellsville, Ky., in fall 1964, while completing his dissertation and oral examination; the degree was awarded in January 1965. After six years of teaching chemistry and serving as chair of the Department of Natural Science at Campbellsville College, Parrish transitioned to Gardner-Webb University, where he taught chemistry for 33 years and served as department chair.

Sherman Parrish

Parrish also served in the Department of Natural Sciences as a professional advisor to students entering medical school, pharmacy school, and medical technology programs. The medical technology programs were coordinated programs with Bowman Gray and Carolina Medical Center. Throughout his career he served on the pre-professional committee of the department which interviewed and recommended prospective students for graduate and professional studies. He retired at the end of the 2002-2003 academic year and was selected as professor emeritus of chemistry. After retirement, the Department of Natural Sciences began the Sherman Parrish Freshman Chemistry Award in his honor.

Upon retirement, Parrish spent much of his time doing church work and community activities. His interest and expertise in computers, photography, videography and audio production was an appreciated talent through multi-media and senior ministries, and community teaching. He also coordinated Boiling Springs Baptist Church audio ministries through radio and served as producer and editor for weekly pastoral video outreach for over 15 years.

Source: Personal Interview—Cindy McKinney

Updated: August 2014—Sherman Parrish

Updated: August 2023Noel T. Manning II

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