The William W. Sherrill Papers consist of awards, photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, financial materials, books, and other materials relevant to Sherrill’s experiences as a Marine, student, entrepreneur, public servant, and teacher. Materials are arranged by function, including awards, autobiographical research materials, correspondence, events and appearances, newspaper clippings, photographs, and subject files.
Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.
William (Bill) W. Sherrill was born in Houston on August 23, 1926. Sherrill grew up during the Great Depression and worked for multiple small business owners during his youth, introducing him to entrepreneurship at a young age. He didn’t like school, and by his eighth grade year (1941) he spent most school days truant. At fifteen years old Sherrill lied about his age and joined the Marine Corps less than three weeks after Pearl Harbor. After spending sixteen months on Palmyra Island he would see combat for the first time when he took part in the first wave to assault Guam Island in July 1944. He went on to fight on Iwo Jima Island where he earned a Purple Heart after being shot in the arm. Sherrill spent his time recuperating from his wound at Oakland Naval Hospital in California. The news that he would be discharged took a heavy toll, but he soon met a nurse that convinced him to take a high school equivalency test and subsequently apply to the University of Houston.
Sherrill was energetically involved in student government and activities, helping found the APO fraternity and serving as president of his class three times as well as vice president once. He earned his BBA in 1950 and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1952.
Sherrill would go on to take a leading position as part of the Houston Civil Defense, beginning his career in government. He later served in numerous capacities within Houston’s government during the terms of Mayors Hofheinz and Cutrer and was part of racially integrating city facilities in the 1950s. Sherrill’s public service continued when he was selected by President Lyndon Johnson to serve on the Board of Directors of the FDIC in 1966. This position was followed by a subsequent appointment to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in 1967, where he served until 1971.
As an entrepreneur Sherrill joined the Jamaica Corporation and played a major role in developing Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island in the late 1950s and early 1960s, which he followed-up by initiating the development of Tiki Island.
In 1990 Sherrill returned to his alma mater to found the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, now called the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. He served over twenty years as a professor and chair and is now emeritus chairman of the Wolff Center.
Collection materials were donated by William W. Sherrill in 2018.