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John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project

The John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project began in early 2017 and is sponsored by the Haas Center for Public Service, the Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program, the John W. Gardner Center for Youth & Their Communities, the Gardner Family Trust, and the Stanford University Libraries Special Collections & University Archives. The interviews are a companion collection to the John W. Gardner Papers, 1912-2004 and the John W. Gardner Papers, 1961-1992, which are housed at Stanford University Libraries Special Collections & University Archives, as well as the John William Gardner Miscellaneous Papers at the Hoover Institution. The project includes interviews with people who knew Gardner in various capacities, including as colleagues, students, mentees, friends, and family members. 

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 1965 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.

 

Oral Histories

2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Development
Interviewer: Nancy Mancini
Roberta M. “Bobbi” Baumgartner, who is retired from her work as an executive assistant at Stanford University, served as John W. Gardner’s personal assistant from 1990 to 1997 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the School of Education. She discusses her connection to Stanford...
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Medicine
Interviewer: Abel, Suzanne
Dr. Walter Bortz, an emeritus adjunct clinical professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a leading expert on aging, reflects on his early life, his move to California, his career in the field of geriatrics, and his interactions with John W. Gardner after Gardner returned...
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Abel, Suzanne
Lewis H. “Lew” Butler discusses growing up in San Francisco, his long and productive career in public service, and his personal and professional relationship with John W. Gardner. Access Transcript Access Audio  
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Medicine
Interviewer: Feder, Abby
Linda Hawes Clever, MD, MACP, founding president of RENEW and a clinical professor at University of California-San Francisco, discusses her long friendship with John W. Gardner and his family, spanning over thirty years from coast to coast. Dr. Clever speaks of Gardner’s role in the founding of her...
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Haas Center for Public Service
Interviewer: Abel, Suzanne
Nadinne Cruz, former executive director at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs and former director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford, discusses her early life in the Philippines; her career in public service, education, and activism; and her friendship with...
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy
Ann DeBusk, a longtime friend of John W. Gardner, shares memories of him and the advice he gave her.   Access Interview
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy; Marine-Street, Natalie
In this interview, Robert F. DeBusk, MD, shares memories of his friend John W. Gardner and reflects on Gardner’s legacy.   Access Interview
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Law
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy
Thomas Ehrlich discusses his career and his friendship with John W. Gardner. Ehrlich expresses his appreciation for Gardner’s mentorship style, which focused on offering encouragement instead of dictating advice.  Access Transcript Access Audio  
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Alumni
Interviewer: Feder, Abby
Sean Fox, co-president of Freedom Financial and a former John Gardner Public Service Fellow, discusses growing up in rural Washington, studying as an undergraduate at Stanford University, being mentored by John W. Gardner, and his career in law, business, and policy. Access...
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy
Frances “Sissy” Geballe, a longtime supporter of the Haas Center for Public Service, shares memories of John W. Gardner and public service at Stanford.   Access Transcript
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Abel, Suzanne
Amy Gerstein, executive director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, speaks about the role the center plays in the Bay Area community and how it tries to carry on Gardner’s legacy. Gerstein also shares information about her own...
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Religious Studies
Interviewer: Prabhu, Anirudh
Robert C. “Bob” Gregg, former dean for religious life at Stanford University, discusses his friendship with John W. Gardner and their participation in a lunch discussion group known as the “lunch bunch.” Members of the group also included Melvin Lane, Arjay Miller, Roger Heyns, Walter...
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Abel, Suzanne
Mimi Haas describes her parents’ experience as refugees from Yugoslavia and shares memories of her youth in the Washington, DC, area. She recalls hearing about John W. Gardner and Common Cause during her adolescence and how she later became friends with Gardner and his wife, Aida, after marrying...
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Feder, Abby
Barbara Hastorf discusses growing up in New York and New Jersey, taking a class with John W. Gardner while she was a student at Mount Holyoke College, and reconnecting with him when she moved with her family to Palo Alto. Access Transcript Access Audio  
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Alumni
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy
Robin Kennedy was raised in the San Fernando Valley and came to Northern California as a college freshman. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in political science, and went on to earn a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD...
2018 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Education
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy
Michael W. “Mike” Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education and an emeritus professor of education at Stanford University, discusses his early career in government, teaching education at Stanford University, and his personal and professional relationship with John W....
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Mancini, Nancy
Wendy Kirst shares memories of the times that she and John W. Gardner crossed paths during his lifetime.   Access Interview
2019 | Project: John W. Gardner Legacy Oral History Project
Interviewer: Prabhu, Anirudh
James M. “Jim” Kouzes discusses his early life and career, his work in the field of leadership studies, his interactions with John W. Gardner, and how Gardner influenced his work.   Access Interview

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