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John William Gardner, (October 8, 1912February 16, 2002) was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson. He was also President of the Carnegie Corporation and the founder of two influential national U.S. organizations: Common Cause and Independent Sector. He authored books on improving leadership in American society and other subjects. He was also the founder of two prestigious fellowship programs, The White House Fellowship and The John Gardner Fellowship at Stanford Universitymarker and U.C. Berkeley. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.

Gardner's term as Secretary of HEW was at the height of Johnson's Great Society domestic agenda. During this tenure, the Department undertook both the huge task of launching Medicare, which brought quality health care to senior citizens, and oversaw significant expansions of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that redefined the federal role in education and targeted funding to poor students. Gardner also presided over the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 1970, Gardner created Common Cause, the first non-profit public interest group in the United States. He also founded the Experience Corps.

Gardner resigned as head of HEW because he could not support the war in Vietnam [92945].

Books, Writings and Speeches

  • Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? (1961)
  • To Turn the Tide (1962)
  • Self-Renewal (1964)
  • No Easy Victories (1968)
  • The Recovery of Confidence (1970)
  • In Common Cause (1972)
  • Morale (1978)
  • Quotations of Wit and Wisdom (1980)
  • On Leadership (1990)
  • Living, Leading, and the American Dream (2003)
  • Uncritical Lovers, Unloving Critics (1968)


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