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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Former Director of Alumni Allen Sherwood

Trinity Roses
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Early morning in the George Petersen Rose Garden. (Photo by Jason Halley, University Photographer)

Our hearts are heavy to share the news that retired Director of Alumni Relations Allen Sherwood passed away on August 25. He was 79.

Raised in Walnut Creek, Sherwood graduated from Chico State with his degree in Social Science in 1965 before going on to complete his graduate work at the University of Oklahoma. He spent much of his adventurous life serving in the military, building an admirable career that granted him opportunities at home and abroad. In addition to spending 20 years as a naval flight officer throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States, Sherwood served on the Apollo Manned Spacecraft Recovery Team; as commander in chief of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; as national director of advertising operations for the US Navy in Washington, DC, and New York City; and as an assistant to the public affairs and deputy appointments secretary to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.

Allen Sherwood

Following his military career, Sherwood embarked upon another lifetime’s worth of work and service. He spent nearly two decades as a university administrator at San Francisco State University and Chico State, working in student affairs and alumni relations, and he was later elected to the California State University Alumni Council, representing over 2 million CSU alumni. Sherwood also served for more than 15 years as both city airport commissioner and county airport commissioner for Butte County.

Retired administrative support coordinator Sharon Salcido (Business, ’64), first met Sherwood in the ’90s when he began working for the University as director of alumni relations. During that time, she got to know Sherwood both professionally and personally and kept in touch through the many years that followed, always making sure to meet for lunch when Sherwood came back to town.

“He was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor and he was very kind,” Salcido said.

Longtime friend and former dean of students Abraham Baily credits Sherwood’s sharp humor and extraordinary perspective for setting him apart.

“Allen was truly a man of the world and all seasons,” said Baily.  “I regularly enjoyed, looked forward to, and learned during his company.”

In addition to his contributions to the military and higher education, Sherwood was a Rotarian for over 20 years and named a Paul Harris Fellow for his generous contributions to the Rotary Foundation; and his civic accomplishments included a Freedoms Foundation Award, a Resolution of Commendation from the California State Senate, a Congressional Award from the US Congress, and two gubernatorial appointments for the State of California.

Sherwood was also an avid amateur radio operator, and operated from California to Honolulu, Cairns and Dunk Island on the Great Barrier Reef, from the North and South Islands of New Zealand, from numerous ships at sea, and the Airship Columbia, formerly known as the Goodyear Blimp. Sherwood also brought his experience to Hollywood, serving as a technical consultant on several major motion pictures, including Top Gun and The Hunt for Red October, as well as the television series Hawaii Five-0.

Sherwood is survived by his wife, Susan, and their daughter. A full military funeral will take place in San Diego, on October 6, at 2 p.m. at the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery, 2900 Parker Flats Cut Off Road, Seaside. A reception will follow at Susan and Allen’s home in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites to you donate in Sherwood’s name to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Attn: Development Department, 875 N. Randolph St. Ste 225, Arlington, VA 22203.

The University flag will be lowered on Monday, October 3, in his memory.