Aurora University

Meet President Rebecca L. Sherrick

President Rebecca Sherrick

Dr. Rebecca L. Sherrick became the 13th president of Aurora University in 2000. Under her leadership, AU has experienced record growth, doubling in size to become the sixth-largest private university in Illinois, while maintaining strong financial health.

Dr. Sherrick’s vision for offering students a high-quality education at an affordable price has guided the work of the university throughout her tenure. Under her guidance, AU has reacted successfully to the changes confronting higher education and has consistently invested in its students through improvements to programs, operations, and facilities.

During her tenure, Dr. Sherrick has championed initiatives that provide access and opportunities for students traditionally underserved by higher education. She established the first doctoral program in AU’s history, built up AU’s Division III athletics program, and strengthened the university’s diversity, including AU’s presence within the Latino/a community. AU is recognized by the U.S. government as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Dr. Sherrick has also overseen the revitalization and renovation of Aurora University’s main campus in Aurora and its George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

A strong proponent of the arts, Dr. Sherrick launched the annual Music by the Lake festival at George Williams College in 2000. The annual outdoor summer music festival brings the best in live music entertainment to perform on the shores of Geneva Lake. She also expanded cultural opportunities for Aurora and the surrounding community through AU’s Celebrating Arts and Ideas program, hosting renowned authors and speakers at AU’s Crimi Auditorium for free events open to the public.

Dr. Sherrick was born in Carthage, Illinois, and attended Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in Bloomington, Illinois, as an undergraduate. She was elected as a student laureate to the Lincoln Academy of Scholars and earned her bachelor's in history, summa cum laude, in 1975. IWU recognized her achievements with the awarding of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2001. She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, for doctoral studies on a William Randolph Hearst Fellowship and completed her PhD in history with specializations in American and Latin American history in 1980. Her research centered on the first American women to enter public life.

Prior to assuming the leadership of Aurora University, she served for 20 years as a faculty member and senior administrator at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She developed a women’s studies program and served two terms as faculty president before eventually rising to provost.

She continues her scholarly pursuits and commitment to student learning as University Professor of History at AU.

Dr. Sherrick is active in a wide range of professional and civic organizations.