Jerome K. Sherman
54PhD

Achievement 2006

Jerome K. Sherman

Jerome K. Sherman, 54PhD, who is known as the father of cryobiology for his pioneering research in the cryopreservation of semen, has offered hope to hundreds of thousands of couples who might not otherwise have been able to conceive. In addition, his groundbreaking work has served as the model for tissue preservation throughout the world.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sherman completed an A.B. degree in biology from Brown University in 1947 and an M.S. degree in the same discipline from Western Reserve University in 1949. He received a Ph.D. in zoology in 1954 from the University of Iowa. As a doctoral student, Sherman discovered and described a then-controversial technique for freezing and storing human semen. In 1953, he established the worlds first human semen cryobank in Iowa City, from which the first human birth with cryopreserved semen was realized.

Four years later, Sherman joined the faculty in the anatomy department at the University of Arkansas College of Medicine, where he led a long and distinguished career until his retirement in 1992. As a teacher and mentor, Sherman was highly respected for his personal commitment to excellence and his first-class communication and follow-through with his students and colleagues. Recognized by his peers for his thoughtfulness and fairness, he was elected president of the faculty senate.

Throughout the years, Sherman continued his scholarly research in conjunction with a wide range of medical and graduate students, exchange scholars, and visiting faculty; thus, he trained hundreds of colleagues throughout the world. He also developed standards for safe and efficient clinical semen cryobanks. Upon his retirement, he was honored with a Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Arkansas College of Medicine.

Now an emeritus professor, Sherman has remained active as a consultant on the national and international levels in both the scientific and the operational aspects of semen cryobanking, appearing as an expert witness at various court trials related to required standards of practice. His work continues to have a far-reaching effect in the medical world, as todays methods of organ transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, and vaccine/viral preparation are based on his original work. Such were the high standards he set in the early days of this technology that many of his techniques and methodologies are still followed.

Shermans energy, winning personality, and strong commitment to humankind are also reflected in his service to the community. At age 17, during World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, earned a commission, and served on destroyers in the Pacific. As a retired lieutenant (Commander), Sherman continued a lifelong commitment to servicemen and their families by working as a volunteer at veterans hospitals. From 1989 through 2005, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Veterans Administration for this work.

Sherman and his wife, Hildegard, are also recognized as leaders in a wide variety of programs for disadvantaged children, racial and religious reconciliation and understanding, and prevention of poverty. At the University of Arkansas, Sherman received the Faculty Volunteer Service Award for his numerous community activities. In addition, he has been a vigorous leader in Boy Scouts of America, the Jewish War Veterans organization, and the Lions Club.

Jerome Sherman serves as a leader and a source of inspiration not only in the field of scientific endeavors but also in his unwavering commitment to humanitarian service.

Sherman is a life member of the UI Alumni Association.