Gamaliel Perruci, 59, passed away July 9, 2021, after a 21-year battle with prostate cancer. His family is thankful for his fighting spirit, as he lived to see all three of his children successfully launch into adulthood. For that, his wife Kathleen and their children Caroline, Rebecca Payne (Chris), and Alexander (fiancee Sara Brunner) are forever grateful. Gama also leaves behind a loving sister, Lidia Ribeiro of Salvador, Brazil; and two brothers, Gerson of Itabaianinha, Brazil, and Eri of Paris, France; as well as their families.
Gama was born Jan. 2, 1962, in Recife, Brazil, to Gamaliel and Areli de Assis Perruci. He came to the United States in 1981 to attend college, graduating with degrees in journalism and economics from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper his senior year, and it was there that he met and fell in love with Kathleen. They were married in 1985 and moved shortly thereafter to Gainesville, Florida, to attend graduate school at UF. After earning his Ph.D. in political science, Gama began his teaching career at Birmingham-Southern College in 1991. Eight years later, he was hired at Marietta College to teach in the McDonough Leadership Center, becoming Dean in 2003. It was here that Gama found his true academic home. He loved McDonough and led more than 1000 students through the program during his time at MC. When the College needed an Interim Provost, Gama answered the call and served in that post from 2011-2013.
In addition to his teaching and administrative duties, Gama was the author of numerous books and articles, most recently “Global Leadership: A Transnational Perspective.” He co-authored “Understanding Leadership: An Arts and Humanities Approach” with his colleague Robert McManus and “Teaching Leadership: Bridging Theory and Practice” with Sadhana Hall of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College. Gama was also a consultant for The New York Times, writing weekly columns for their educational programming. Other consulting activities included reviews of the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy, as well as the leadership program at Zayed University in Dubai. He was a frequent guest analyst for the London-based BBC World Service and the Paris-based Radio France International. Gama was also a member of the Academic Advisory Council for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
A founding member and Board Chair of the International Leadership Association, Gama had a passion for international travel and cross-cultural experiences. One of his favorite activities was serving as a Case Studies Facilitator for the Young African Leaders Initiative program begun by President Obama. He taught YALI students each summer at Dartmouth and Kansas State University.
Gama had a huge impact both at MC and abroad. His family has been inspired by the hundreds of condolence letters received from all over the world; his students and colleagues have shared their memories and expressed gratitude for how he shaped their development as both leaders and human beings. We know his legacy will live on, not only in his children, but in the thousands of students he has taught over the years. Gama’s mantra to his leadership students was to “give back the gift,” and we are certain that this model of servant leadership will have a ripple effect on the world for many years to come.
The family wants to thank Gama’s many doctors and other medical professionals who helped him fight the good fight: Dr. Clinton and Kelly, Andrea, and Elizabeth at Wexner Medical Center; as well as Dr. Vasan and Amy, Dr. Siva, Dr. Giro, and all the myriad of staff at the Strecker Cancer Center in Marietta. We thank you for giving us so many good years with Gama.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Christ United Methodist Church on the corner of Wooster and Third streets. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Gama to Marietta College (215 Fifth Street, Marietta, OH 45750 or www.marietta.edu/give), with “For Gama” Iisted in the memo line of the check or as the online designation.