Cover photo for Dr. Gerald W. Gibson's Obituary
Dr. Gerald W. Gibson Profile Photo
1937 Dr. 2021

Dr. Gerald W. Gibson

October 27, 1937 — May 20, 2021

Dr. Gerald W. Gibson, father, husband, granddaddy, and President Emeritus of Maryville College, passed away May 20, following an extended illness. He was 83. He was a member of New Providence Presbyterian Church in Maryville, TN. Gibson enjoyed a 45-year career in higher education and often reminded his family, “Knowledge is power.” A native of Saluda County, S.C., he spent much of his childhood in Spartanburg. He studied chemistry and earned degrees at Wofford College (B.S.) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (Ph.D.) and served as a member of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps prior to joining the faculty at the College of Charleston in 1965. He served as chair of the chemistry department at the College of Charleston from 1968 until 1982, when he was named associate provost for academic affairs at the College. In 1984, he left to become vice president and dean of Roanoke College in Salem, Va., where he served for the next nine years. Gibson was inaugurated as Maryville College’s 10th president in 1993 and retired in 2010. Credited with leading the College into its current state of historic strength, he took the helm when enrollment at MC was 752 students, and the College’s endowment was valued at around $12.5 million. At the conclusion of his 17-year tenure, the College had celebrated a record enrollment of 1,176 undergraduates and an endowment value of $55 million. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Otis and Mavis Smart Gibson; and numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins. He is survived by wife Rachel Plummer Gibson; children Holly Gibson Yalove (Jay), Laura Gibson Owens (Casey), and Paul Gibson (Amanda); grandchildren Alexandra and Madeline Yalove, Annabelle Owens, and Isaac Gibson; sister Norma Webb; many brothers-and-sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and countless cousins. Gerald Gibson was a talented poet, painter, woodworker, and author of several books, most recently, the memoir of his tenure at Maryville College, Tenth Watch. He enjoyed singing and playing tenor guitar. He relished tending an extensive hosta garden, and had a passion for researching genealogy. He had the honor of serving on numerous non-profit boards and volunteering during Kin Takahashi Week on the Maryville College campus. He believed that no matter your circumstance, you could choose happiness. He always told his family that happiness comes from inside, not from outside. A private interment will take place in the College’s cemetery. The public is invited to a memorial service, which will be held in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre inside the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus at 2 p.m., Fri., June 11. The family will receive friends following the service in the William Baxter Lee III Foyer of the Clayton Center for the Arts. The event will be live-streamed on the Maryville College website. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that gifts be made to the Gerald Gibson Professional Development Fund at Maryville College, 502 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN 37804 or online at www.maryvillecollege.edu/givetoday.Smith Funeral & Cremation Service, Maryville, 865-983-1000, www.SmithFuneralandCremation.com Smith Funeral & Cremation Service, Maryville, 865-983-1000, www.SmithFuneralandCremation.com To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Dr. Gerald W. Gibson please visit our Sympathy Store.
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