Former Nirvana Guitarist, U.S. Army Veteran, Monk to Graduate Columbia University

Anna O'Sullivan
May 07, 2013

Military veteran, rock guitarist and monk, Jason Everman raises the bar for the modern Renaissance man. In 1987, Everman—a commercial fisherman off the coast of Alaska—quit his job and moved to Seattle where he became the second guitarist touring worldwide and recording with Nirvana to promote their “Bleach” album and a bassist with Soundgarden on their “Louder than Love” tour. 

He eventually outgrew the rock scene, and in 1994, he traded his pick for a rifle and enlisted in the U.S. Army special operations forces as a part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion. Thirteen years later, Everman, 45, who has hiked the Himalayas and lived as a Nepalese monk, will graduate from Columbia University School of General Studies with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy on May 20 at 9 a.m. in New York City.  

Everman, who reenlisted in 2000 in the U.S. Army special operations forces and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, considers the completion of his bachelor’s degree the final step toward achieving a well-rounded, wholeness in his life.

“Throughout my adult life I have made the conscious effort to develop three aspects of who I am: the artist, the soldier and the philosopher.  I believe GS has been the ideal place to realize this development,” Everman said.

While enrolled at GS, Everman, who was an active member of the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University student organization, composed and recorded a song entitled "Catch & Release,” for the soundtrack to A Marine's Guide to Fishing, an award-winning short film starring an Iraq veteran. He also participated in the New York University Veterans Writing Workshop where he published two stories in the 2009 and 2010 anthologies entitled “The Meantime” and “Summation,” respectively.

After graduation, Everman plans to travel and hopes to publish a novel and apply to a graduate degree program in history.


About the Columbia University School of General Studies
The Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the premier liberal arts college in the United States for nontraditional undergraduate students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League education. GS students take the same courses, study with the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all other undergraduates at Columbia University.

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