2023 Gift of Wisdom Award Winner

Congratulations to Sherrill Williams Ragans, recipient of the Women for Florida State University’s 2023 Gift of Wisdom Award. 

Ragans began a 44-year tenure at Florida State in 1959, serving as a residence counselor and director of University Housing, then later associate vice president for Student Affairs. She remained a remarkable advocate and mentor for students, faculty and staff throughout those years. 

She always shared her positive attitude and ethical core with others, said Alicia Crew in her nomination letter. Ragans guided, motivated and supported others in the expectations and values of FSU; encouraged and promoted others' ideas and actions; and gave them the courage to persevere in their work and personal lives. 

Ragans retired in 2003 but continued to serve on multiple boards and in many community organizations, including the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees, Mercer and Tift College Boards of Trustees, PACE Center for Girls, Tallahassee Capital Women's Network, United Way of the Big Bend and Urban League of Tallahassee. Ragans is also a founding member of the Women for FSU and remains a guiding mentor and supporter in the development, recruitment and philanthropic endeavors shaping the organization we know today. 

Her accomplishments have been honored with many awards and recognitions, including the FSU President's humanitarian and leadership awards, the FSU Alumni Association’s Circle of Gold award and a residence hall named in her honor. Originally called New Hall, S.W. Ragans Hall received its namesake in a rededication ceremony in 2006. 

“Despite all these honors, the thing that has impressed me the most is that she always stays in touch with an email or note—and never forgets a birthday, holiday or significant event in the lives of others,” Crew said. 

Crew also described Ragans as a selfless role model, humanitarian and caring community leader who always shared her time, talent and treasures with FSU. She encourages other women to follow her lead in giving back and caring for others and always showers others with thanks and recognition. 

“I cannot believe that Sherrill has not been honored previously,” Crew said. “Sherrill epitomizes the spirit and intent of the Gift of Wisdom recognition.”

headshot of Sherrill Williams Ragans
Sherrill Williams Ragans