April 18, 2005 — A reception and book signing celebrating the release of Earning My Degree: Memoirs of an American University President, by University of Utah Emeritus David P. Gardner, will be held on Thursday, April 28, from 4 until 6 p.m. The event will take place in the Gould Auditorium of the University’s Marriott Library, 295 S. 1500 E., on the University of Utah campus. The reception will be hosted by current University President Michael K. Young, College of Education Dean David J. Sperry and the faculty of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.
“The University is pleased to honor one of its own and celebrate the release of Earning My Degree, which so richly chronicles David’s life, including the time he served as president here, as well as the exceptional leadership he provided to higher education throughout the United States,” notes current University President Michael K. Young.
Gardner led Utah’s flagship institution from 1973-1983, a time of extraordinary change in the America’s educational climate. During that time, he chaired the National Commission on Excellence in Education, which authored A Nation at Risk, one of the most telling reports on the condition of American public schools in the 20th century. Gardner devotes one chapter of the book to his tenure at the University of Utah.
As president of the University of California nine-campus system, from 1983-1992, President Gardner met with intense controversies over issues ranging from affirmative action and animal rights to AIDS research and weapons labs. Gardner also served as president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation from 1993 to 1999 and as chairman of the board of the J. Paul Getty Trust, from 2000 to 2004. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and the American Philosophical Society and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration.
David Sperry, dean of the College of Education, one of the sponsors of the event, notes, “President Gardner had a profound impact not only as a former president of the University of Utah, but also as a national leader in higher education. We have been honored to have him as a member of the college’s faculty since his departure from the University’s administration. Many students have benefited from the rare experience of having such a notable and seasoned professor as an instructor.”
The forward to Earning My Degree: Memoirs of an American University President is written by Vartan Gregorian, 12th president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and former president of Brown University. The memoir describes his dealings with the diverse cast of characters who influence the university: U.S. presidents, governors, legislators, regents, chancellors, faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors. The epilogue of Earning My Degree is an account of the ten years since Gardner’s retirement that includes his personal views about what has truly mattered in his life.
Published by the University of California Press, the book is 452 pages and can be purchased online at http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10227.html.