This paper is a personal recollection of Clark Kerr and his presidency of the University of California by a friend of 43 years, not from a distance, but as a former student, colleague and successor president of the University. It is also a summary remembrance of the contributions made by his three most influential predecessors. These three presidents: Gilman (1872-75), Wheeler (1899-1919), and Sproul (1930-1958), essentially defined the trail of history that led to and helped shape Kerr’s own presidency (1958-1967). The principal focus of this paper is Kerr’s beliefs, values, style, personality, ways of working, priorities and life-experiences that so informed his professional and personal lives. Few such private persons have held such a public position as that of president of the University of California. The interplay between the man and his duties helps one better to understand and more deeply to appreciate Kerr’s remarkable accomplishments and the triumphs and turmoil that defined both his presidency and legacy alike.