The Newhouse community mourns the loss of graphic design instructor Sherri Taylor, who died Oct. 19 following a long illness.
In a message to the school on Monday, Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato noted that, despite the loss, “we can gain some comfort in knowing that Sherri’s tireless efforts and legacy will endure through the generations of students whose lives she touched in such a caring and rewarding way.”
During her 30 years at the Newhouse School, Taylor built a reputation as a funny, tough and kind teacher who was passionate about design and dedicated to her students, always holding them to a high standard and pushing them to do better.
Taylor had a positive impact on thousands of students over the course of her career. When news of her death reached the community on Monday, that impact became clear in the outpouring of remembrances from alumni and students who had sat in her classroom.
“Sherri taught me how to be a meticulous designer who works with intention,” remembered alumna Madeline Kelly ’14, “but she also taught me how to laugh at myself, how to tell a captivating story and how to properly honor those whose stories we told. What an incredible legacy. I am so grateful I could learn from her.”
Said alumnus David Miller ’11: “Sherri Taylor was so pivotal to my time at Newhouse. Ten years out, and I still think daily about her exacting detail and insistence on strong rationale for design choices. She was the absolute best kind of tough, and I’m so lucky to have known her.”
Taylor taught introductory and advanced graphic design courses to Newhouse students as well as students in the school’s Military Visual Journalism program. She guided students during the visual communications department’s annual Fall Workshop and led collaborative pro bono work by students in photography and graphic design that twice won Chancellor’s Citations for Public Engagement and Scholarship. Her students also collaborated on book projects for The Eddie Adams Workshop and the Alexia Foundation.
“Sherri loved Newhouse. She dedicated her life to educating the next generation,” says Bruce Strong, chair of the visual communications department. “With quick wit and candor, she told students exactly what she thought of their work—the good and the bad. She set the bar high and didn’t stop pushing students until they reached that bar.”
Born in Washington, D.C. Taylor was raised in Irving, Texas. Before coming to Newhouse, she spent years teaching high school journalism in her home state, and it remained a passion of hers. In Syracuse, she was director of the Empire State School Press Association (ESSPA) and the former School Press Institute, a summer workshop for high school journalists from across the country. She also helped organize J-Camp, a weeklong summer journalism program for students from the Syracuse City School District, which was hosted at Newhouse in 2009 and 2010.
In 2017, Taylor was honored by the Association of Texas Photography Instructors with the Star of Texas Award for her contributions to photographic education in Texas. She also earned the Trailblazer Award from the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, Special Recognition Adviser from the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year from the Interscholastic League Press Conference.
At Syracuse University, she was honored with the Teacher of the Year award from University College, three nominations for Female Educator of the Year by Eta Pi Upsilon Sigma and a nomination for an Outstanding Teaching award from the Greek Awards Committee.
Olivia Delorenzo, now a senior in the advertising program, was a high school student when she met Taylor through her work with ESSPA, and says Taylor was the reason she enrolled at Newhouse.
“Her love of teaching was so immense that I’m sure her loss is felt not only by SU students and alumni, but also by young journalists all across New York State,” Delorenzo says. “I am immensely saddened by her death, and incredibly grateful to have known her.”
A celebration of Taylor’s life will be held Thursday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m. EST via Zoom. Limited seating will be available at the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. Join service>>