Gage Gager with Anna Billias, Sweet Briar pianist and coordinator of the Gager Community Concert Series.
It is with great fondness that we remember Lynchburg resident Forrest “Gage” L. Gager, Jr., who passed away on July 31, 2020. Gage, a longtime member of the Sweet Briar College family, recognized the value of supporting both the arts and sciences.
While attending Haverford College in the 50s, he met his first wife, Helen, after which they both worked at the pharmaceutical company Merk. Gage then went on to work as a chemist at Philip Morris in Richmond, Va. Helen became an associate professor of chemistry at Sweet Briar where she taught from 1976 to 1980.
The Gager family’s passion for chemistry inspired Gage to establish The Helen McClure Gager Award in Chemistry. The award recognizes a member of the Sweet Briar community—student, faculty or other—who has achieved distinguished work in the field of chemistry.
Students conduct experiments in the chemistry lab.
After the death of his wife, Helen, and retirement from Philip Morris, Gage married Janet Kelso Lowrey and moved to Sweet Briar. Once here, he became involved in environmental, zoning and planning issues for Amherst County.
Janet served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations and publications from 1976 to 1987. In memory of his wife, Gage established The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert Series, which has been a traditional part of Sweet Briar’s broader commitment to sharing music and art with the community. The series features classical music from around the world performed by College faculty and students, as well as guest artists.
“It was a such a pleasure seeing Mr. Gager in his late 90s, sitting in the chapel, enjoying the wonderful performances brought to campus through his generosity,” says Mary Pope Hutson ’83, vice president for alumnae relations and development.
Combining art and science is a hallmark of Sweet Briar’s interdisciplinary nature, and we are committed to continuing the tradition.
Here are a few promotional posters from past concerts that we thought you’d enjoy seeing. They bring back wonderful memories.