Born in Jacksonville Florida (1945), Dr. Ronald J. Sheehy moved at an early age to Tampa Florida, and completed his early education in the public schools of that city.
Dr. Sheehy entered Morehouse College at the age of 16, and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He earned a Master of Science Degree at Atlanta University in 1967, and a Ph.D. in molecular genetics at the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1971. After completing the Ph.D., he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Public Health Research Institute in New York City, where he worked with Dr. Richard Novick one of the leaders in the field of plasmid genetics.
Following his postdoctoral years, Dr. Sheehy returned to his alma mater to begin his professional career. He established a laboratory to continue his work in plasmid genetics, which led to a significant number of publications in refereed journals, and invitations to present at international conferences in Czechoslovakia and Germany. During this period he served appointed terms on review panels at the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. In succession, he was appointed Chair of the Department of Biology, promoted to full professor and awarded the David E. Packard Endowed Chair in Biology.
In 1984, Dr. Sheehy was appointed founding dean of the Benjamin Banneker Honors College at Prairie View A&M University. The Honors College was the first of its kind on a historically black campus, and one of only a few in the country. It was designed to raise the profile of the University, as well as to bring a talented cadre of students majoring in science and technical fields to Prairie View. In order to enhance and encourage the participation of black collegiate students in honors education, he co-founded the National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP).
After six years as dean, Dr. Sheehy was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. A few years later, he returned to Atlanta to accept the position as Associate Executive Director, with the Commission on Colleges, of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In this latter capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the accreditation of colleges and universities in the southern region of the United States. After seven years at SACS, he was appointed Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Georgia Perimeter College, a multi-campus community college in Atlanta, where he led the reaccreditation effort.
In the latter stages of his career he returned to his alma mater, Morehouse College, where he directed a successful SACS review and chaired the Quality Enhancement Plan, a five-year program to enhance the global competence of Morehouse students. Also, during this period he published a memoir, “Possibilities: A Search for Personal Liberation.”
In the last few years, he relocated to Florida as Director of International Affairs at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He retired from this position in December, 2013.
As a retiree, Dr. Sheehy stays busy as founder and editor of a website devoted to disseminating, “Important Current Stories on Race in America,” raceinquiry.com, and a subsidiary, Race Inquiry Digest, where he curates and summarizes articles twice weekly from over 50 major news sources.