“John Sheehy has a wonderful grasp on why Reed is such an important, unique, and almost magical place.”
–Jim Kahan, Class of 1964
About John Sheehy
John Sheehy is a writer and publisher who has worked as an executive or consultant with a number of media companies, ranging from independents like Utne Reader, Parabola, Afar, Dwell, Inc., and Fast Company to media giants like Time, Inc., Bertelsmann, and Reader's Digest Association. A graduate of Reed College, he and his wife live in Sonoma Country, California. Comrades of the Quest is his first book.
John Sheehy & Reed College
John Sheehy was born and reared in a small chicken ranching town in Sonoma Country, California, known as the “Egg Basket of the World.” After finishing high school there, Sheehy used his savings to buy a one-way ticket out of town to Europe. He spent the next three years traveling abroad and working odd jobs to fund his autodidactic education. After a six-month stay unloading fishing boats and studying ancient Greek philosophers in the small Greek village of Molyvos, he decided to apply to college. Inspired by three renowned Beat poets—Gary Snyder ’51, Philip Whalen ’51, and Lew Welch ’50—Sheehy applied to their alma mater, Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, and was accepted on the college’s “Come Anyway Program.”
Come Anyways were needy students who were accepted without any accommodation for financial aid on the assumption that they could secure necessary funding from extended family members. Lacking such means, Sheehy spent a year working in Munich, Germany, where he saved the money necessary to fund his first year’s tuition at Reed. In the subsequent three years, the college provided him with an academic scholarship.
Sheehy entered Reed at the age of 21 with a verbal SAT score of 450—one of the lowest on record at the college—and graduated four years later Phi Beta Kappa in English Literature. He also was presented with the Class of 1921 Award for creative achievement. After graduation, Sheehy received a scholarship to a publishing program at Harvard-Radcliffe, and then, with $50 in his pocket, moved to New York City, where he began his publishing career as an editorial assistant at the literary magazine Parabola.
In 1997, Sheehy joined the Reed College Alumni Association, later serving as its president in 2000–2001. Beginning in 1998, he chaired the association’s committee on the Reed Oral History Program, and soon after became the program’s volunteer director. He is currently a trustee of the college.