This story was written by Peter Blanchard and originally appeared in The Cortland Voice. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. 

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A SUNY Cortland graduate who was employed as a school psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary School will be honored Monday by the college’s alumni association.

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Mary Joy Greene Sherlach, who graduated from SUNY Cortland in 1978 with a degree in psychology, was killed Dec. 14, 2013, in a mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 28 people dead, including 20 children.

When the gunman, Adam Lanza, first entered the school, Sherlach and the school principal reportedly raced toward him in an effort to protect the roughly 700 children in the school.

Bill Sherlach ’80 and Mary Joy Greene Sherlach ’78 (Provided photo)
Bill Sherlach ’80 and Mary Joy Greene Sherlach ’78 (Provided photo)

“Mary’s actions were heroic, and exemplified courage, compassion and dedication,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said following the news of Sherlach’s death. “We are proud to call her one of our own.”

In the days and weeks following the mass shooting, SUNY Cortland held an educational forum that featured panelists discussing whether armed officers should be allowed in schools. A second event was later held on the issue of mental health and school safety.

On Monday, the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association will light a candle at the Alumni House in Sherlach’s memory. She had been the school psychologist at Sandy Hook since 1994.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.