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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carolina alumnus named Spangler Family Director of UNC Press

John Sherer, currently vice president and publisher of Basic Books, has been named the seventh director of UNC Press, effective July 30. He succeeds Kate Douglas Torrey, who retired on June 30 after 23 years at the publishing house. She had served as its director since 1992.

“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 Jack Evans, chair of the UNC Press Board of Governors and Hettleman Professor of Business Emeritus at Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Sherer, who was chosen for the post following a national search, 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.

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.

Sherer, a 1988 Carolina graduate with a bachelor’s degree in international relations, began his publishing career at UNC Press as assistant sales manager from 1989 to 1991. Since 2011, he has continued his association with the 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. “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.”

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.

UNC Press, founded in 1922, is the oldest university press in the South and one of the oldest in the United States.