Campus News

Tom Sherman, Emeritus Professor of Biology, Dies at 89

Oberlin graduate and longtime faculty member remembered for penning the ode to Oberlin “A Place on the Glacial Till.”

April 15, 2024

Communications Staff

Tom Sherman.
Photo credit: courtesy of Oberlin College Archives

Tom Sherman, a 1956 Oberlin graduate who returned to his alma mater to teach biology for 30 years, died April 9. He was 89.

A Rhodes Scholar, Sherman earned a DPhil from Oxford University in 1960 and began teaching at Oberlin six years later. He authored two books: A Place on the Glacial Till: Time, Land, and Nature Within an American Town, an affectionate chronicle of the natural history and life around his longtime home of Oberlin; and Energy, Entropy, and the Flow of Nature, an exploration of the principles of thermodynamics delivered in easy-to-follow language. Both books were published by Oxford University Press.

“Tom brought careful preparation and considerable thought to his lectures,” says Dennis Luck, an emeritus professor of biology and 24-year colleague of Sherman’s who bonded with the elder professor over their shared studies in Oxford’s doctoral program in biochemistry.

“He encouraged his students to forge cross-connections and to think independently. He stressed attention to accuracy and detail in written work. He will be remembered with affection by many Oberlin students and faculty as an accomplished, considerate, and gentle scholar.”

Sherman will be remembered in a private ceremony. Learn more in this obituary published by the Chronicle-Telegram.

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