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John W. Gardner
1912 -

Consulting professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business. Gardner taught psychology, served as a Marine officer in World War II, led the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1946-65), was Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (1965-68), chairman of the National Urban Coalition (1968-70), founding chairman of Common Cause (1970-77), and chairman of the National Civic League (1994 to present). Among his many honors and awards, Mr. Gardner received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), the U. S. Air Force Exceptional Service Award, and the Distinguished Achievement Medal of the Stanford Athletic Board. He also served on President Kennedyís Task Force on Education, was chairman of President Johnsonís Task on Education, served on President Carterís Commission on an Agenda for the Ď80s, chaired the Commission on White House Fellowships, and served on President Reaganís Task Force on Private Sector Initiative

Books by John W. Gardner
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Excellence: Can We Be Equal & Excellent Too? (1995)
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On Leadership (1994)
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The creative individual is particularly gifted in seeing the gap between what is and what could be (which means, of course, that he has achieved a certain measure of detachment from what is).

The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept.

America's greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive.

Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Very few have excellence thrust upon them.

I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive.

The ultimate goal of the educational system is to shift to the individual the burden of pursuing his own education.

1995 - from Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society
The hallmark of our age is the tension between aspirations and sluggish institutions.

An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

1961 - from Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?
Geniuses used to be rare. Today, thanks to popular interpretation of test scores, every elementary or secondary school has its quota.

1961 - from Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?
Storybook happiness involves every form of pleasant thumb-twiddling; true happiness involves the full use of one's powers and talents.