John Cherry was born on July 4, 1941, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. His family moved several times in his youth and he attended high schools in Ottawa and Regina, Canada. He attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and earned a bachelor of science degree in geological engineering in 1962. He began his graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley and earned a master of science degree in geology in 1964. He finished his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Cham-paign, receiving a Ph.D. in 1966. Upon graduation, Cherry became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bordeaux, France, but returned to Winnipeg the next year (1967) to join the faculty at the University of Manitoba, Canada. In 1971, he moved to the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and he remains there today. He was the director of the Institute for Groundwater Research from 1982-1987 but switched to the director of the University Consortium for Solvents-in-Groundwater Research in 1988. He also holds an NSERC (Environmental Research Council) chair in contaminant hydrogeology.