Chris died July 24, 2022, in Washington, D.C., after a long battle with depression. He joined our class from Simsbury (Conn.) High School. He was a member of Charter and majored in English, graduating summa cum laude, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Classmates appreciated Chris for his dry wit, keen intellect, empathy, thoughtfulness, and willingness to argue and discuss issues with no repercussions — exceedingly rare in this day and age. He brought equal intellectual rigor to matters of high and low culture and everything in between. 

Drawn to books and ideas, Chris spent his career writing and editing. He was a voracious consumer of politics, social science, and popular culture, which informed his work writing and editing opinion pieces and reviews. At The Washington Post, where he worked at the time of his death, he assigned and edited news essays and analyses and was known for seeking people whose opinions he disagreed with to write for his section. 

Chris began his career at The Chronicle of Higher Education and worked for or contributed to publications including The Boston Globe, Lingua Franca, Smithsonian Magazine,, and The Wall Street Journal. 

An avid guitar player, Chris appreciated classical music and intellectual guitar rock equally, nurtured friendships from all phases of his life, and, most of all, loved spending time with his son Will — playing Scrabble, watching horror movies, and bicycling around D.C.

In addition to his son, Chris is survived by his mother, Judith Shea; his father, Thomas Shea; sister Nancy O’Driscoll; his companion, Amanda Perez; and his former wife, Rachel Hartigan. We send our condolences to them for the tragic loss of our friend, one of our class’s brightest minds.

Undergraduate Class of 1991