(MS)2 student
October 14, 2022

‘He Believed in Our Dreams’

The legacy of former (MS)2 Director Walter Sherrill

Deep conviction in the (MS)2 mission and its talented young learners. That’s what inspired the late Walter Sherrill to create a trust in the 1990s that would provide decades of essential support for Andover’s longest-running educational outreach initiative.

For seven years, Sherrill served as director of this three-summer residential program, which advances diversity in the STEM fields and attracts promising high school students from under-resourced schools nationwide.

As program head, he helped spark the success of hundreds of eager participants who are now teachers, scientists, and leaders in their respective fields. And as a donor, Sherrill personally made possible (MS)2 experiences for dozens of students through much-needed scholarship assistance over the past 25 years.

Students from the 1980s and ’90s still remember Sherrill with fondness and gratitude. Kristina Halona, (MS)2 ’95, came to Andover from the Navajo Nation in Sawmill, Ariz. “Mr. Sherrill taught us to be respectful, mindful, courteous, and proud, and to never give up on our dreams—because he believed in our dreams too,” says Halona, now an aerospace engineer.

Walter Sherrill, influential (MS)2 director and forward-thinking donor

Sherrill passed away from cancer in 1995 at age 57, but his legacy—and the trust he helped fund through his estate—remained vibrant thanks to his friend Elwin Sykes P’92, ’97, ’01. The two first met when Sykes was teaching an (MS)2 writing class.

“Walter was a visionary—simply a great asset to the school community,” says Sykes, faculty emeritus, whose distinguished Andover teaching career included serving as (MS)2 director twice.

“Several months before he died, Walter stopped by for a visit,” he says. “He shared his diagnosis and his wish that I oversee the funds he had invested to support (MS)2 students. I was both humbled and honored by his faith in me.”

That faith was well placed—and each year, for a quarter of a century, new students arrived on campus because of the abiding spirit of these two Andover teachers and friends. The term of that trust is set to expire this year, but what was achieved will live on.

“With Elwin’s able guidance, the Sherrill trust helped us plan and grow,” says former (MS)2 director Dianne Domenech-Burgos. “And, in 2020, it even gave us the resources to run things remotely.

“It’s a testament to the power of our outreach programming—and the power of generosity and friendship.”

Originally printed in The Vista: Views from the Knowledge & Goodness Campaign, spring 2022.

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