Anna ”Pearl” Sherrick
Founding director of nursing, MSU honorary doctorate in 1975
Anna “Pearl” Sherrick was the founding leader of the nursing program at Montana State University (1938-1965), holding a variety of titles in that position. Ironically, Sherrick never earned an academic degree in nursing. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Illinois Women’s College in 1924, a master's degree in education from Colorado State Teachers College in Greeley in 1934 and a doctorate in education from the University of Washington in 1957. She gained her nursing training from the University of Michigan as a diploma degree in the mid-1920s. Sherrick was described by those who knew her as a trailblazer, visionary, problem solver and mentor with adjectives such as influential, dedicated, stubborn, persistent, respected and always caring. She believed Montana’s nurses should have the opportunity to earn college degrees in order to have well-rounded educational preparation for careers in professional nursing practice and education. Sherrick started both MSU’s baccalaureate and master’s programs in nursing. Her influence on Montana nursing cannot be overestimated. She shaped it and transformed it. In so doing, she influenced the health of generations of Montanans. Sherrick has been awarded an honorary doctorate from MSU. The College of Nursing’s current building is named for her.
Anna "Pearl" Sherrick was a powerhouse for women at a time that was not popular and those who knew her described her as a trailblazer, visionary, problem solver and mentor.