Man standing on college campus smiling
6.14.2021
By Roanoke College News

Former Roanoke vice president and dean Gerald W. Gibson passes

After a lifetime of service to higher education, Dr. Gerald W. Gibson passed away May 20 following an extended illness at the age of 83.

Gibson served as the vice president and dean at Roanoke College from 1984-1993. From 1993-2010, he served as the 10th president of Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee.

Roanoke College President Michael C. Maxey said Gibson’s contributions to Roanoke College were important.

“He was a visionary who knew how planning and documenting progress could improve Roanoke and its experiences for students,” Maxey said. “Gerald was a chemist and a poet in style and substance. I appreciate his life and accomplished career.”

Gibson was born in Saluda County, South Carolina, and grew up in Spartanburg. He studied chemistry and earned degrees at Wofford College (B.S.) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (Ph.D.) and served as a member of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps prior to joining the faculty at the College of Charleston in 1965. He served as chair of the chemistry department at the College of Charleston from 1968 until 1982, when he was named associate provost for academic affairs.

“He was a visionary who knew how planning and documenting progress could improve Roanoke and its experiences for students. Gerald was a chemist and a poet in style and substance. I appreciate his life and accomplished career.”

President Michael C. Maxey on former vice president and dean Dr. Gerald W. Gibson

Gibson is survived by wife, Rachel Plummer Gibson; children Holly Gibson Yalove, Laura Gibson Owens and Paul Gibson; sons- and daughter-in-law Jay Yalove, Casey Owens and Amanda Smeltzer Gibson; grandchildren Alexandra and Madeline Yalove, Annabelle Owens and Isaac Gibson; sister Norma Webb; nephew Mark Webb and wife Pam; and niece Karen Van Amburg and her husband, Tony. 

A public memorial service was held at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the campus of Maryville College on June 11. The service was live-streamed and can be viewed on this page. A private interment took place in the Maryville College cemetery.

Gerald Gibson, third from left, is pictured with, from left, Ken Garren '62, former Roanoke College President Norm Fintel and current Roanoke College President Michael C. Maxey.