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University of Missouri

Independence to Independent

Sherri Gallick is the new alumni association president.

Sherri Gallick, the Mizzou Alumni Association’s new volunteer president, will encourage volunteerism. “We all have different talents and gifts,” she says. Photo by Rob Hill.

Sherri Gallick, the Mizzou Alumni Association’s new volunteer president, will encourage volunteerism. “We all have different talents and gifts,” she says. Photo by Rob Hill.

Sherri Gallick has plenty to be proud of when she recalls her career as an executive in corporate marketing and sales management. Looking back on her adolescence in Independence, Missouri, she sees how her life could have veered in a very different direction. Gallick was a strong student at Fort Osage High School, but her plans were on the safe side: Go to college close to home, come back, get married. “My world was very small,” says Gallick, BS Ed ’82, the Mizzou Alumni Association’s new volunteer president. “The idea was: This is where your family lives. This is where you will live.”

At Fort Osage in the 1970s, being a good student wasn’t a key to popularity, says Marcia “Marty” Napier, BS Ed ’69, M Ed ’80, Gallick’s high school home economics teacher, who is now house director at the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity at MU. “Sherri qualified for the National Honor Society, but it was not a priority because she didn’t want to seem smarter than her friends.” Fortunately, Napier imagined a different path for the “bright and vivacious” Gallick. She’d still be a big fish but in a bigger pond, Napier says. “And one day, I literally put her in the car, brought her here to Mizzou for a visit and said, ‘You are going to go to school here!’ ”

After graduating from Mizzou, Gallick earned an MBA at Webster University in St. Louis and worked in the food products industry where she says she often was the only woman in a sales management role. She was also a single parent for 11 years, which left little time for outside interests.

Eventually, Gallick plugged into the alumni association. Using her marketing and management skills, she spearheaded the launch of new alumni chapters in Indianapolis in 2004 and Memphis in 2007. The association recognized her efforts with awards in those years. Before long, she started on the leadership track that put her in the president’s seat this year.

During her presidential term, Gallick plans to boost the association’s efforts to engage alumni as volunteers. “I want to encourage everyone to participate and to be part of the Mizzou equation,” she says. “We all have different talents and gifts, and we all can make a difference.”

Gallick has come to see that life is about being part of something bigger than oneself. “When I went to Mizzou, it broadened my views of the world and planted seeds, allowing me to dream and realize that so much was possible.” Now she is about giving back. “If you can help an organization or a person, that’s what life is about.”