John Sherer Named Director of UNC Press

UNC Press News

John Sherer, currently Vice President and Publisher of Basic Books, has been named the Spangler Family Director of the University of North Carolina Press.

John Sherer (photo by Rick Schwab)

John Sherer
(Photo courtesy of Rick Schwab)

Sherer, 45, succeeds Kate Douglas Torrey, who retires on June 30 after 23 years at the publishing house. She has served as its director since 1992.

The announcement was made today by Jack (John P.) Evans, chair of the Press’s Board of Governors and Hettleman Professor of Business Emeritus at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, following a national search and approval by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina on the recommendation of UNC President Thomas W. Ross.

“John Sherer’s publishing experience, commitment to the mission of UNC Press, and experience with the digital transformation occurring in publishing create a wonderful combination,” said Evans. “We are all excited about the leadership that he will bring to the Press.”

Sherer took over the publisher role of the Basic Books Group in 2006, with responsibility for managing all aspects of the nonfiction publishing house’s operations, including editorial, marketing, publicity, and design. Sherer previously held marketing positions in New York and Washington, D.C. at Basic Books, Brookings Institution Press, and Henry Holt.

Under Sherer’s leadership, Basic Books has won numerous awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the LA Times Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Award, the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize, and the Albert J. Beveridge Award. He has published best sellers by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Timothy Snyder, Diane Ravitch, Chris Hedges, Thomas Sowell, Eduardo Galeano, Jeremy Scahill, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

He is an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies and is active on the Association of American Publishers Trade Executive Committee.

Sherer has a longstanding connection with the University and UNC Press. He is a 1988 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in international relations. Sherer’s publishing career began at UNC Press, where he held the position of assistant sales manager from 1989 to 1991.

Since 2011, Sherer has continued his association with UNC Press as a member of its Advancement Council.

“UNC Press is one of the most respected publishing programs in the country—not simply among university presses, but among all publishers,” said Sherer. “The quality of its current program combined with a legacy whose influence is hard to overstate should make the people of the state of North Carolina extremely proud.

“It is my honor to continue the work of Kate Torrey, whom I’ve admired for more than two decades, and to join with the talented staff of the Press and its significant support system within the University of North Carolina community. Amidst the rapid changes occurring in publishing today, the mission of UNC Press is more vital than ever, and I look forward to participating in the next chapter of its illustrious history.”

Sherer’s appointment is effective July 30. The Spangler Family Directorship is a newly endowed position created in honor of UNC President Emeritus C.D. Spangler Jr., his wife Meredith, and his daughters Anna and Abigail through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie M. Baker Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Mark R. Bernstein, Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Daniels Jr., The Dickson Foundation, Mr. Edward H. Hardison, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes Hauptfuhrer, Mr. Richard H. Jenrette, Ms. Betty P. Kenan, Mr. Thomas S. Kenan III, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh L. McColl Jr., Mr. and Mrs. John G. Medlin Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Julian H. Robertson Jr., Miss Wyndham Robertson, Mr. and Mrs. Russell M. Robinson II, and Mr. Allen Torrey and Ms. Kate Douglas Torrey.

Previous Press directors and their terms of office are Louis Round Wilson (1922-32), William T. Couch (1932-45), Thomas J. Wilson (1946-47), Lambert Davis (1948-70), and Matthew Hodgson (1970-92).

Founded in 1922, UNC Press is the oldest university press in the South and one of the oldest in the United States. The Spangler Family Directorship is a newly endowed position created in honor of Meredith and C.D. Spangler Jr., Anna Spangler Nelson, and Abigail Spangler through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie M. Baker Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Mark R. Bernstein, Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Daniels Jr., The Dickson Foundation, Mr. Edward H. Hardison, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes Hauptfuhrer, Mr. Richard H. Jenrette, Ms. Betty P. Kenan, Mr. Thomas S. Kenan III, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh L. McColl Jr., Mr. and Mrs. John G. Medlin Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Julian H. Robertson Jr., Miss Wyndham Robertson, Mr. and Mrs. Russell M. Robinson II, and Allen and Kate Douglas Torrey.

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UNC Press contact: Gina Mahalek, 919-962-0581, gina_mahalek@unc.edu

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