Sheila Gallagher

Sheila Gallagher BA '85



Degree and Class Year

BA ’85


Long Lake, Minnesota

Current City

Minneapolis, Minnesota


English Literature


Art History


Varsity Soccer, Lacrosse Club, Resident Advisor, work-study student, Pioneer Log reporter

Overseas study

New York City off-campus program, 1984

Job Title, Organization

Officer/Vice President Sales and Business Development, General Mills, Inc.


Clinton Street Quarterly/Ptld and Village Voice, New York City, 1984

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Unique, Different, Peaceful

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I wanted to play soccer in college and go far away from home. I’d never been west, so L&C fit the bill.

What have you been doing since graduation?

I traveled to Europe for six months after graduation. I then settled back in Portland to work for the City of Portland in the parks department in a low-income social services position. Realizing this was not for me, I ended up getting a job with General Mills, Inc. in sales, and lived in Roseburg, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati. In the middle of all this I had twin boys in 1992, and after moving four times in five years, I decided to permanently settle in Minneapolis. I moved from marketing to general manager to vice president of various divisions within General Mills. In 2013, I opted for early retirement after over 27 years. My kids were off to college, so I sold my home and moved downtown and decided to return west where I ended up spending 50 percent of my time from 2012 to April 2022. I started a part-time consulting business in the food space and became active in a variety of volunteer opportunities. And I began to really travel! Cuba, Russia, surfing trips to Costa Rica, hiking trips to Mont Blanc and the Dolomites and all across the USA. The pandemic put a stop to travel and most volunteer activities. In the spring of 2022, I found out I was going to become a grandmother, so I decided to return to Minneapolis and live full time there. I was a Minneapolis park board ambassador in the summer of 2022, and I am actively involved in a city-sponsored safety and security committee to bring back safety and peace to our downtown area. I continue to travel and recently completed the Natchez Trace on bike. I will be off to Norway for a three-week hiking trip in September 2023.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your career?

Critical thinking, and the ability to think differently and be open to new and different ideas were the most notable. My English degree was critical in me being a marketing/sales executive as my communication skills were top notch and my ability to problem solve and add value to a large corporation was noted. I would never have gotten to an officer position at a Fortune 100 company without my English degree and my liberal arts experience.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

Challenging the status quo and being comfortable challenging authority. The ability to change things through critical thinking and being open to other ideas and thoughts.

What’s your favorite part or most memorable experience of serving on the Board of Alumni?

I loved meeting all the other alumni and interacting to support the college. The Board of Alumni retreats held at various McMenamins were always fun, and even a little crazy, and it brought back memories of L&C parties.

How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?

I was on the Board of Alumni for a few years and have always attended reunions and homecomings.

Have you been to Alumni Weekend or other programming, like Homecoming, etc.? What did you enjoy about the event(s)?

Yes, I love meeting former classmates and meeting the new and younger alumni, and I always love returning to campus. I look forward to attending the 2024 reunion with my husband Mike Thompson BA ’84 and my own reunion in 2025. My 35th reunion was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Quite a footnote!

How do you encourage other alumni to give back to the college?

I encourage by example. I’ve endowed a scholarship and helped support a recent classmate’s endowment. I am pretty open in conversation and always say, “It’s not how much you contribute. Anything helps.”