The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

The Rockefeller Center Remembers Gama Perruci

15X Yali Session With Gama Perruci

15X YALI Session with Gama

18S RGLP Session 3 With Gama Perruci

18S RGLP Session with Gama

Summer Palace Forum 2013

Gama at Summer Palace's 2013 Forum

Article Type 

Late afternoon of July 9, we received a call we were dreading; we learned that Rocky had lost a beloved colleague and dear friend, Gama Perruci, to a long illness. Gama was the Dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business and McCoy Professor of Leadership Studies at Marietta College in Ohio.

Gama approached his many accomplishments with humility and with a generous spirit of giving. He brought his learning and wisdom to Rocky’s co-curricular leadership programming and was a guide, friend, and mentor to students, staff, and alumni who were fortunate to learn from him. Gama visited Dartmouth three times a year and taught sessions in the Center’s Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) as well as the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP). Sasha Kokoshinskiy, a current student from the class of 2023 shared his feelings: “Gama was able to improve my academic, social, and professional life within a matter of just a few hours. I will truly miss how he motivates others to bring the very best in any situation; his encouragement was always accompanied with lightness and levity.” The Rockefeller Center’s Program Officer, Robin Frye, who worked with Gama in the MLDP program, says, "Gama was able to captivate any group of students with his playful and candid style of teaching. And when you had a conversation with him, you had his full attention. You always felt like what you had to say mattered. Even when it was just what the students were up to these days." Leslie Wagner, Program Officer for RGLP, recalls, “Gama contributed immensely to RGLP, both in the expertise he brought to the program and in the way he engaged with students. He had a way of gently pushing students out of their comfort zones and excelled at keeping the whole group engaged and on their toes in discussions. For many RGLP alumni, Gama’s session was one of the most memorable.”

During some of his visits, Gama also hosted engaging staff lunch discussions about current events and implications on leadership. His connection to the Center went beyond serving as a facilitator for MLDP and RGLP. Gama often spoke about his joy in serving on a team of facilitators for the years in which the Rockefeller Center hosted the leadership component for Dartmouth’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). His impact will always be remembered by the YALI students and members of the Dartmouth community who worked with him.

Gama’s engagement with Rocky resulted in collaboration on several projects with a reach beyond Dartmouth. Gama and Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center, participated together in conference panels, authored short articles in various publications, recorded podcasts, and co-chaired the International Leadership Association’s Task Force on Guiding Principles for Leadership programs. They also co-authored a book, Teaching Leadership: Bridging Theory and Practice, which was published in 2018. Gama recently wrote the foreword for Sadhana’s forthcoming book, ‘Leadership Blueprints: Adopt, Adapt and Adjust, which will be published shortly. Sadly, Gama will not be here with his Rocky family to celebrate this reflective account of all the programs he contributed to and admired. Sadhana recalls how every minute with Gama was filled with thoughtfulness, deep discussions, and his desire to do his best for everyone. “It is a profound personal and professional loss for me. He was intelligent, resilient, inspiring, elegant, gentle, and thoughtful. I have lost a friend, a colleague, and a brother. We completed so many projects together, and his desire was for all these projects to impact the field of leadership. His contributions will leave an indelible lasting impression at home and around the world.

Gama gave so much of himself to those he met and to the field of leadership. He did it with a perfect balance of grace and ambition. Every now and again, a person comes into our lives and fills it with hope, brightness, and optimism. They leave us behind with a charge to work hard and positive energy to empower and transform others. As Dan Fang from the class of 2015 wrote, “A brilliant and joyful light leaves the world a little dimmer today. But I pray he is in a better place and that we can carry his light to shine brighter in the future.”

The Rocky family will forever be grateful to Gama for his contributions to the leadership programs offered by our Center and his impact on the students. Although we will miss his presence, his deep and reflective dives into leadership issues, his smile, and the joy that he spread around whenever he visited us, he will always be with us. Read more about Gama and his impact on Marietta College in this article.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences