At Stanford and in Silicon Valley

In addition to his long-time service as a Stanford trustee, Gardner spent the last thirteen years of his life on the Stanford campus. He was a founding member of the National Advisory Board of the Public Service Center (now the Haas Center for Public Service) and the first Miriam and Peter Haas Centennial Professor in Public Service. The John Gardner Public Service Fellowship and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford are just two examples of Gardner’s lasting legacy on the campus and beyond.

Gardner was also a valued advisor to established and emerging philanthropists in Silicon Valley, his wisdom and experience rooted in the many years at Carnegie and as co-founder of Independent Sector.

Board of trustees meeting

Board of Trustees

John Gardner with University President Richard Lyman at a 1970 meeting of Stanford's Board of Trustees. Gardner served on the board from 1968 to 1982.

John Gardner Fellowship for Students - Public Service - Hoover House

John Gardner Fellows

Inaugural class of John Gardner Public Service Fellows from Stanford and UC Berkeley in 1985: (from left to right) Jeremiah Ingersoll, Gavin Helf, Carole Bialek Vargas, Stanford President Don Kennedy, Jerry Cacciotti, Janet Lynch Lambert, Chancellor of UC Berkeley Ira Michael Heyman, John Gardner, and Peter Sidebottom.

Commencement Speech, 1991

At Stanford's Centennial Commencement in 1991, Gardner addressed the new graduates, encouraging them to go out and make a difference in the world. This speech was given two years after his return to Stanford.

Full text of the speech is available online

To view his speech, begin watching at 00:18:02.

John W. Gardner at the opening of a new building for the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford

Haas Center for Public Service

Gardner at the opening of the new building of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford in April 1993. Peter and Mimi Haas, who endowed the Haas Centennial Professorship in Public Service in 1989, are seated behind him. Haas Center Director Tim Stanton is to the left. Gardner held the Haas chair until his retirement in 1996.

Oral History with Sally Osberg

Sally Osberg recalls introducing Jeff Skoll, the founder of eBay, to John Gardner in 2001. Skoll and Osberg joined forces to make the nascent Skoll Foundation a major force in developing and supporting social entrepreneurs and innovation.

Listen from 43:20 to 48:29

Oral History with Milbrey McLaughlin

Milbrey McLaughlin talks about the founding of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford.

Listen from 15:10 to 17:29

John W. Gardner’s work and his vision were always about equality, justice, and the promise of human potential. He saw what so many people see as society’s insoluble problems as breathtaking opportunities. His vision for young people’s role in communities will live on through the work of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford.

Milbrey McLaughlin, "Standard of Excellence: How John W. Gardner Inspires a New Generation of Leaders," conference, 2012.

Gardner Plaza Dedication

Francesca Gardner, Milbrey McLaughlin, Aida Gardner, Provost John Etchemendy, and Stephanie Gardner Trimble at the dedication for the John W. Gardner Plaza in the Graduate School of Education in 2008.

By the time of Gardner's death in 2002, he had been a fixture at Stanford and in Silicon Valley for over a decade. Read tributes to Gardner from the Stanford Report and the Stanford Magazine following his passing.