Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Remembering John W. Gardner, Architect of the Great Society. No. 457.

John W. Gardner was a longtime activist who promoted the common good and improved the lives of millions of Americans by helping to implement the sweeping social reforms of the 1960s. As Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Gardner played a major role in civil rights enforcement and education reform, and he was instrumental in creating Medicare and establishing the public television network.

Gardner received his B.A. and M.A. in psychology from Stanford University, where he returned as a trustee and as a professor. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He authored several books on leadership and self renewal, and wrote extensively on public service. He headed the Carnegie Corporation and the Urban Coalition, and went on to found Common Cause and co-found the Independent Sector. In 1964, Gardner received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil honor.

In his remarkable career, he played an instrumental role in a vast array of enterprises, including the White House Fellows Program, public television, enforcement of the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, the Experience Corps and many, many others. Through the sheer power of his ideas, he became one of the most influential voices of his generation.

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