University Residences Honors Memory of Long-Time Faculty Fellow

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University Residences has honored the memory of a long-time Faculty Fellow by renaming its top award for Faculty Fellows in honor of the late Dr. Gerald Krockover, Professor Emeritus of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.  

Renamed the Dr. Gerald Krockover Outstanding Favorite Faculty Fellow Award, the honor is bestowed to a Faculty Fellow who demonstrates strengths on the pillars of service, research and teaching. Faculty Fellows volunteer their time to engage with students in University Residences and provide a personalized experience outside the classroom. Faculty Fellows are typically assigned to one floor of a residence hall and interact with students both informally and at formal events, such as weekly dinners and hall activities planned by hall staff and students.  

Known as “Jerry,” Krockover served as a Faculty Fellow in Owen Hall where, for more than 40 years, he and his wife, Shari, served as advisors, resources, role models and friends for generations of Boilermakers. The Krockovers ate dinner with Owen residents nearly every week while school was in session during their decades of service as Faculty Fellows. Jerry and Shari were also enthusiastic participants in Owen Hall’s annual Halloween party and other events such as ice cream socials, formal dances at Purdue Memorial Union, game shows, career nights and more. Jerry and Shari would also host picnics for Owen residents at their home and often involve their children and grandchildren in their relationships with residents of Owen Hall.  

Sarah Spears, a former resident assistant (RA) and resident education assistant (REA) in Owen Hall, says weekly dinners with the Krockovers were something she and her residents always looked forward to.  

“Every week, my residents and I would have dinner with Dr. Jerry and Shari at Ford Dining Court,” Spears said. “The residents always enjoyed the different perspectives, jokes, resources and advice that Shari and Jerry would bring to every dinner. I would often be asked by my residents if Gerry and Shari would be in attendance  

Jerry and Shari served as mentors for resident assistants like Spears, who says she valued the personal attention she received from them. 

“On a personal level, they were always honest, they were always kind and they were always the first to support me when I was having a hard time academically, as a resident assistant or personally,” Spears said.  

Brandon Hall, a former RA and staff resident at Owen, called Jerry an “indomitable” personality who had a positive effect on students. 

“Jerry simply made my life as an RA much easier,” Hall said. “Any RA will tell you that their number one priority is to build positive community and, with Jerry, building community was easy. Every Wednesday – and I mean EVERY Wednesday – for three years, he and Shari would show up and, usually, more than half of our floor would come together. And these were not mandatory events – these students wanted to come and be a part of this small event with Jerry just because of the perspective that he brought for the university, his humor, his caring attitude and his compassion towards everyone. He was truly a person that garnered attention and the respect of everyone he was around.” 

Kendall Abrams, a 2016 graduate who served as a RA in Owen Hall for two years, shared that she originally met the Krockovers prior to becoming a RA. When she accepted a position as RA, she said she was disappointed to learn that Jerry and Shari would likely not be paired with her floor as they had stated a preference to be paired with male students. Little did she know that Jerry and Shari were actually planning to serve as the Faculty Fellows for her floor – which came as a pleasant surprise when she reported for RA training the following fall. 

“It was a great to see how Jerry would help all of the girls on the floor,” Abrams said. “He would constantly make connections for them, introduce them to different groups on campus and just stay really actively involved in their education and personal lives. You could tell that Gerry and Shari really cared about all of their students and it was such a joy and pleasure to work with them.” 

Jerry and Shari often stayed connected with students long after they’d left Owen, whether it was just a move to a new residence hall or beyond graduation. That was the experience of Joshua Chen, 2015 graduate of Purdue who served as president of Owen Hall’s Hussar Club and later Hillenbrand Hall’s Phoenix Club. 

“During my junior and senior years when they were no longer my Faculty Fellows, Jerry and Shari still consistently invited me to dinners,” Chen said. “I would trek from Hillenbrand to Owen for the weekly dinner, even during the cold winter months. They were my second set of grandparents at Purdue and they truly made Purdue a home away from home.” 

Chen, who now serves as the assistant director for housing administration at Emory University, says Jerry also provided inspiration for how to approach his career. 

“Jerry is a role model for staff members and other faculty, and even for me on how to approach students,” Chen said. “Sometimes, it’s best to focus on the college experience rather than the academics.”  

The Krockovers’ legacy also includes an endowment that centers on undergraduate students and their research with the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, as well as support of organizations such as Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, President’s Council, Science Dean’s Club, Liberal Arts Dean’s Club, John Purdue Club and Jewish Studies. Jerry was also a member of the inaugural Book of Great Teachers at Purdue. 

Jerry passed away in January 2020 at the age of 77. He is survived by Shari, a sister, two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.  

University Residences awards the Dr. Gerald Krockover Outstanding Faculty Fellow Award annually at its Favorite Faculty Reception, which honors faculty and Faculty Fellows who have been nominated by students who live in University Residences. Dr. Andrew Freed, professor of geophysics and planetary sciences, was named the 2020-21 recipient of the award. Visit this page to watch the presentation. 

 

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Elizabeth Hartley, Tammy Loew, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Elizabeth Hartley | Inquiries Contact: studentlifemarketing@purdue.edu