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Mary Joy Greene Sherlach '78

Mary Joy Greene Sherlach, a school psychologist since 1994, was one of six adults and 20 first-grade children killed Dec. 14, 2012 during a shooting spree that shocked the world and ignited national debates about gun control, mental health care and school safety. When gunman Adam Lanza broke into the school, Sherlach was one of the school officials who ran toward him in an effort to protect Sandy Hook’s children. She became one of the massacre’s first casualties.

“Mary’s actions exemplified courage, compassion and dedication,” College President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “We are proud to call her one of our own.”

Mary met her husband, Bill Sherlach ’80, at the College, graduated cum laude with a degree in psychology and was an active member of SUNY Cortland’s alumni family. She and her husband frequently visited campus and returned annually for Cortaca Jug football games. The couple’s most recent visit was less than a month before the attack.

In early 2013, the College held two well-attended public “teach-ins” on gun control and mental health issues in Sherlach’s memory. The Student Government Association recently announced they would re-name their annual children’s festival in Sherlach’s memory. In the fall of 2013, a scholarship in her name was offered to a deserving psychology major.