Fletcher Treasure: Gerard "Jerry" Sheehan Awarded Tufts’ Hosea Ballou Medal

Longtime beloved Fletcher Dean Sheehan honored on the eve of his retirement
Dean Kyte wearing a blue shirt, Jerry wearing a blue jacket holding award, and President Monaco in blue jacket with yellow tie

Photo by Russ Campbell

Special Advisor to the Dean and former Executive Associate Dean Gerard “Jerry” Sheehan was celebrated by current and former colleagues at an event held in honor of his upcoming retirement Wednesday night. Sheehan was awarded the prestigious Hosea Ballou Medal – an award given to a member of the Tufts community for their outstanding service to the University.

During the ceremony, Dean Rachel Kyte was joined by former staff and colleagues in praising Dean Sheehan, citing his extraordinary contributions, his mentorship, leadership, and his sense of humor.

“Jerry’s impact on Fletcher has been incalculable. Much of what the Fletcher community treasures about the place is in large part due to his impact and influence,” Dean Kyte said.

Sheehan joined the Fletcher community in 1985 after working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic and later after returning to the states to work at Georgetown University.

In the years that followed, he served first as Fletcher’s Associate Dean for 14 years. He then worked as the Executive Associate Dean for 21 years, ultimately serving five Fletcher deans. Most recently, Jerry continued as a Special Advisor to Dean Kyte, providing her with an “encyclopedic understanding of the university and its nuances.”

Beyond his work with The Fletcher School, Jerry also gave his time to many different causes and organizations including the National Security Education Program, the Program in Public Policy and International Affairs, the Institute for International Public Policy, and in leadership positions in APSIA just to name a few.

Dean Kyte also lauded Jerry as a highly respected leader, always willing to guide and mentor people at Fletcher.

“Because of Jerry's hard work and tireless efforts on behalf of the school, and countless hours advising faculty, fellow administrators, and students – thousands of our students have successfully launched, propelled, or transformed their careers here and have now taken on a myriad of leadership roles across the planet, working on behalf of a more just and peaceful world – no doubt, influenced also by his modeling of patient listening, thoughtful inquiry, and tact and diplomacy,” Dean Kyte.

Dean Kyte added, “These aren't platitudes, but rather a small sampling of our many shared experiences of a man who has dedicated most of his adult life to this School and its important mission.”

Tufts University President Tony Monaco added, “Throughout the course of nearly four decades at Tufts, Jerry has served as an essential bridge between Fletcher and other Tufts schools, centers, and departments. He has built quite the reputation, as he is perhaps the only person in recent Fletcher history who can go by one name alone. As someone who has dedicated most of his life in service of others, and especially to Fletcher for several decades, I believe that Jerry is particularly deserving of this award.”

“I am profoundly moved by this completely unexpected honor. And so very grateful to my many Tufts and Fletcher faculty and administrative colleagues who enabled me to have such a deeply and personally rewarding career at this great University,” Jerry said.