John W. Gardner Interviews

John W. Gardner (1912-2002) earned his BA and MA degrees in psychology from Stanford and a PhD in psychology from University of California, Berkeley. He remained connected to his alma mater throughout his illustrious career, serving on Stanford’s Board of Trustees from 1968 to 1982. As the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1955 to 1967, he became known as “one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes figures in education.” Gardner served as Lyndon B. Johnson’s Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) from 1965 to 1968. He founded two influential public advocacy groups, Common Cause (1970) and Independent Sector (1980). Gardner spent the last thirteen years of his life at Stanford. He was a founding member of the national advisory board of the Public Service Center (later 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 are just two examples of Gardner’s lasting legacy at Stanford and beyond.

The Stanford Historical Society supported two interview projects related to Gardner. The John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project includes interviews with people who knew Gardner in various capacities, including as colleagues, students, mentees, friends, and family members. The John Gardner Fellowship Association Project is comprised of interviews with Gardner Fellows, Cal and Stanford alumni who were awarded the prestigious public service fellowship named in Gardner's honor.

Browse Interviews from the Gardner Projects

The exhibit John W. Gardner: Statesman, Social Reformer, Public Advocate features additional information about Gardner's life and career as well as an overview of the Gardner papers held at Stanford.