John William Gardner
- Category : Business-Top-executive
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (3,10,13,34,42,52)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 3
American public service employee, founder and head of the "citizen action" organization Common Cause, who had a long and distinguished public service career that included serving as U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Lyndon B. Johnson, and head of the National Urban Coalition. Trained in psychology, he was propelled by a marked interest in human motivation, particularly in people who create and destroy institutions. He served as president of the Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and focused on funding seminal projects in educational reform. He stands 6’2", and although compassionate, has a reputation for being demanding of others. He is said to have an extraordinary memory. Gardner is the author of many books, "On Leadership," 1993, being one of the most recent. He has also received many honorary degrees and a score of governmental and private awards.
John William Gardner was the youngest of two sons of real-estate brokers who were separated by the time he was born. His father died a year after his birth and he and his brother were raised in Beverly Hills, CA by their mother. In school, Gardner had been double-promoted. He went to Stanford University, where he became a free-style swimming champion. Interested in a literary career, he first majored in English, then in 1933, left college to try his hand at professional fiction writing. Unsuccessful, he returned to Stanford in 1934, majoring in psychology. Gardner received his B.A. and M.A. degrees, respectively, in 1935 and 1936, and became a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the University of California. His dissertation was on "levels of aspiration," which presaged a major theme of his future work, individual goal attainment.
From 1938-1940, he was a psychology instructor at Connecticut College for Women, and spent the next two years as an assistant professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. During World War II, he served in the Federal Communications commission as head of the Foreign Broadcasting Intelligence Service’s Latin American section. At the same time, he was also a Marine Corps commissioned officer assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, the American wartime espionage agency.
His first OSS assignment was to develop and improve OSS personnel assessment tests. Gardner also set up a center in Laguna Beach, Calif., for assessing and processing OSS recruits for the Pacific theater of operations. He also processed and assigned agents to a clandestine project that brought about the German surrender in northern Italy. He ended his military service in 1946 as a captain.
Upon his return to the United States, Gardner joined the Carnegie Corporation, which was the third largest foundation in America. He rose in the hierarchy, becoming president in 1955. During this time, he wrote "Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?," 1961.
In 1963, he wrote "Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society," about society’s protecting the common good without suppressing individuality.
During the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Gardner was called upon as a consultant to the White House and various government agencies. Johnson was impressed with his chairing of the White House Conference on Education in July 1965, and asked him to become Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in August 1965.
Gardner resigned the cabinet post in January 1968 and went on to become chairman of the National Urban Coalition in March 1968, an organization of business, labor, religious, civil-rights and political leaders formed in response to the summer riots of 1967. Growing dismayed at the unresponsive governmental processes not designed for contemporary purposes, he launched a mammoth direct mail and advertising campaign to Americans, neither liberal nor conservative but just interesting in a working system. The mailing, which took place in August 1970, asked recipients to join him in the "common cause" of promoting government accountability. Initially, 9000 people responded, and the Common Cause organization has been growing ever since.
Gardner has received many honorary degrees, and governmental and private awards that include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.A.W. social Justice Award, and the Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education. From 1968-1969, he was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He married Aida Gardner on 8/18/1934 and they have two daughters. Gardner died on 2/16/2002, Palo Alto, CA.