Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman was globally respected as an outstanding scholar, academician, and leader. During a time when women in chief executive roles in business, government, and education were still relatively rare, she rose through the ranks to become the first woman to head a university on the African continent. Dr. Sherman validated a simple, powerful social proposition: If you educate a boy, you only educate an individual. But if you educate a girl, you educate an entire community. So, she devoted her entire life and energy aggressively advocating for access to education, at all levels, for women, as she raised and nurtured her own community of scholars at the University of Liberia, her alma mater. The biological mother of three, the adoptive mother of more than 20 and mentor to countless others, Dr. Sherman’s influence extends far beyond her professional accomplishments
Mary Antoinette Hope Grimes was born in Monrovia, Liberia on October 27, 1926 to the union of Louis Arthur and Victoria Elizabeth Jellemoh Grimes. She was the only girl of five children. Her father was a previous Attorney General, Secretary of State, and finally Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. Mary Antoinette fulfilled a dream by writing the story of her mother's life in the book, "Jellemoh."
Mary Antoinette was a woman of faith, a woman of prayer, a woman of integrity, and a woman of "the Book," the Holy Bible. Her faith enabled her to survive widowhood at 36, raising 6 children while working on her Ph.D. in her late 30's, loss of her only daughter at age 41, politically-motivated imprisonment at age 59, being a caregiver to her husband after he was struck with Alzheimer's disease in her late 60's through early 70's, and battles with cancer in her 70's. She was a lifelong learner, and personally typed the manuscript for "Jellemoh" on her computer. She completed the manuscript, but passed away before the book was published. Reflecting on her life of 77 ˝ years, she would have said as she did say on many occasions, “Sei gbi kamba wa ta mu!” – All thanks belong to God!