Passing of David Pierpont Gardner

January 3, 2024

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of David Pierpont Gardner on January 2, 2024.  Dr. Gardner served as President of University of California (1983 to 1992) and President of the University of Utah (1973-1983).

Dr. Gardner was a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) at UC Berkeley.  CSHE named the David P. Gardner Seminar in Higher Education in his honor. This is an annual seminar for selected UC doctoral students who are focusing their research on higher education.

A native of Berkeley and graduate of Berkeley’s public schools, Dr. Gardner received his B.S., majoring in political science, history and geography, from Brigham Young University.  Following service for two years in the United States Army, stationed in Korea and Japan, he took up graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley where he earned his M.A. in political science in 1959 and Ph.D. in higher education in 1966.  During his graduate school years, he also served as assistant to the chief executive officer of the California Farm Bureau Federation.  Subsequently, from 1960 to 1964, he held positions in the California Alumni Association as field and scholarship director, then as the first director of the California Alumni Foundation.  From 1964 to 1970, Dr. Gardner served the University of California, Santa Barbara as a faculty member and vice chancellor responsible for all aspects of external relations during a tumultuous era of culture wars, ethnic divisions, and anti-Vietnam-war protests.  From 1971 to 1973, Dr. Gardner joined the University of California Office of the President as Vice President for the Extended University and Public Service Programs.  The idea of the Extended University was to enroll adult part-time students in University of California degree programs at places and times convenient to them.  He was also University Dean of University Extension.

The author of many articles and books on educational policy reform, Dr. Gardner’s major works include The California Oath Controversy, Higher Education and Government: An Uneasy Alliance; and Earning My Degree: Memoirs of an American University President. 

Additionally he was President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and was a member of both corporate and university governing boards in the US and abroad.

Dr. Gardner received numerous honors including Honorary Fellow and Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England (1989); the University of California, Berkeley’s Alumnus of the Year (1989); the French Legion d'Honneur (1985), the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1992); and the Fulbright 40th Anniversary Distinguished Fellow in Japan (1986).  He was a member of the National Academy of Education and the American Philosophical Society; and a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Here is a statement from the University of California Office of the President.