John Gately received a B.A. in Mathematics from New College of Florida in Sarasota, Florida. He later earned an M.A. and a PhD in Mathematics from Northwestern University. His research was in commutative algebra and was centered around the question of how ideals in multi-variable polynomial rings factor.

Mr. Gately had previously been an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department at Roosevelt University for several years and had also taught Mathematics (on an adjunct basis) at a number of local colleges before joining Harper College (full-time) in the fall of 2009.