Kerr, Clark 1911-2003

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KERR, Clark 1911-2003

PERSONAL: Born May 17, 1911, in Stony Creek, PA; died of complications after a fall, December 1, 2003, in El Cerrito, CA; son of Samuel William (a farmer and teacher) and Caroline (Clark) Kerr; married Catherine Spaulding, December 25, 1934; children: Clark Edgar, Alexander William, Caroline Mary. Education: Swarthmore College, A.B., 1932; Stanford University, M.A., 1933; additional study at Institute of International Relations, Geneva, Switzerland, 1935–36, and London School of Economics and Political Science, 1936, 1939; University of California, Ph.D., 1939. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Society of Friends (Quaker). Hobbies and other interests: Gardening.

CAREER: Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH, instructor in economics, 1936–37; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, acting assistant professor of labor economics, 1939–40; University of Washington, Seattle, associate professor of economics, 1940–45; University of California, Berkeley, associate professor, 1945–67, professor of economics and industrial relations, beginning 1967, became professor emeritus, director of Institute of Industrial Relations, 1945–52, chancellor of Berkeley campus, 1952–58, university president, 1958–67, president emeritus, 1974–2003. Chair and executive director, Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, Berkeley, 1967–73; chair and staff director, Carnegie Council on Policy Studies on Higher Education, Berkeley, 1974–79; program director of Strengthening Presidential Leadership Project, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, 1982–85; chair of study commission on global education, Global Perspectives in Education, 1985–87. National War Labor Board, wage stabilization director of Tenth Region (San Francisco, CA), 1942–43, vice chair of Twelfth Region (Seattle, WA), 1943–45, chair of Meat Packing Commission, 1945–47, public member and vice-chair, 1950–51. Member of President Harry S. Truman's Labor-Management Conference, 1945, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1953–55, and Commission on National Goals, 1959–60, President John F. Kennedy's Committee on Labor Management Policy, 1961–63, and Railroad Emergency Board, 1963, and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Committee, 1963–65. Contract arbitrator for Boeing Aircraft Co. and International Association of Machinists, 1944–45, Armour & Co. and United Packing House Workers, 1945–47 and 1949–52, Waterfront Employer's Associa-tion and International Longshoremen's Union, 1946–47, California Processors and Growers, Inc. and California State Council of Cannery Unions, 1953–58, and others. Chair of board of Work in America Institute, beginning 1975, and Global Perspectives in Education, 1976–85. Member of board of directors, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1953–61; member of university council, Chinese University of Hong Kong, beginning 1964; member of board of managers, Swarthmore College, beginning 1968. Member of board of trustees, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, 1958–60 and 1972–80, Rockefeller Foundation, 1960–71, International Council for Educational Development, 1971, Council on Learning, 1975–83, Educational Testing Service, 1977–80, and Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, 1977–80.

MEMBER: American Economic Association, Industrial Relations Research Association (president, 1954–55), National Academy of Arbitrators (vice president, 1947–48), American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Education (charter member), Royal Economic Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Sigma.

AWARDS, HONORS: American Friends Service Committee traveling fellowship, 1935–36; Newton Booth fellowship, 1938–39; Alexander Meiklejohn Award, American Association of University Professors, 1964, for contributions to academic freedom; Clark Kerr Award, University of California at Berkeley, 1968, for extraordinary and distinguished contributions to the advancement of higher education; College Board Medal, 1976, for distinguished service to education; Academy for Educational Development award, 1978, for distinctive contributions to the solution of critical problems in higher education; American Council on Education award, 1980, for outstanding lifetime contributions to American higher education; Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Award, 1980, for distinguished service to higher education; has also received over thirty-seven honorary degrees, including degrees from Harvard University, Yale University, and University of Michigan.


Productive Enterprises of the Unemployed, 1931–1938, three volumes, University of California (Berkeley, CA), 1939.

(With E. Wight Bakke and Charles Anrod) Unions, Management and the Public, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1948, 3rd edition, 1967.

(With Roger Randall) Collective Bargaining in the Pacific Coast Pulp and Paper Industry, Labor Relations Council of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce/University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1948.

Unions and Union Leaders of Their Own Choosing, Fund for the Republic, 1957.

(With John T. Dunlop, Frederick H. Harbison, and Charles A. Myers) Industrialism and Industrial Man: The Problems of Labor and Management in Economic Growth, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1960, revised edition, 1975.

The Uses of the University, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1964, 5th edition, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001, fifth edition, 2001.

Labor and Management in Industrial Society, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1964.

(With others) The University in America, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 1967.

Marshall, Marx, and Modern Times: The Multi-Dimensional Society, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Labor Markets and Wage Determination: The Balkanization of Labor Markets and Other Essays, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1977.

(With others) Twelve Systems of Higher Education: Six Decisive Issues, Interbook (San Leandro, CA), 1978.

(Editor, with Jerome M. Rosow) Work in America: The Decade Ahead, Van Nostrand (New York, NY), 1979.

Education and National Development: Reflections from an American Perspective during a Period of Global Reassessment, University of Nairobi, 1979.

(With others) Conflict, Retrenchment, and Reappraisal: The Administration of Higher Education, University of Illinois Press (Urbana-Champagne, IL), 1979.

The Future of Industrial Societies: Convergence or Continuing Diversity?, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1983.

(Editor, with Paul D. Staudohar) Economics of Labor in Industrial Society, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 1986.

(Editor, with Paul D. Staudohar) Industrial Relations in a New Age: Economic, Social, and Managerial Perspectives, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 1986.

(With Marian L. Gade) The Many Lives of Academic Presidents: Time, Place and Character, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, 1986.

The Great Transformation in Higher Education, 1960–1980, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1991.

Who Will Take Responsibility for the Future of California Higher Education? (address), California Postsecondary Education Commission, 1993.

(With Marian L. Gade and Maureen Kawaoka) Higher Education Cannot Escape History: Issues for the Twenty-First Century, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1994.

(With Marian L. Gade and Maureen Kawaoka) Troubled Times for American Higher Education: The 1990s and Beyond, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1994.

(Editor, with Paul D. Staudohar) Labor Economics and Industrial Relations: Markets and Institutions, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949–1967, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), Volume 1: Academic Triumphs, 2001, Volume 2: Political Turmoil, 2003.

(Editor) Documentary Supplements to The Gold and the Blue, Berkeley Public Policy Press, Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2003.

Contributor to numerous books, including Migration to the Seattle Labor Market Area: 1940–42, University of Washington Press, 1942, reprinted, Greenwood Press, 1970; Insights into Labor Issues, edited by Richard Lester, Macmillan, 1948; Industrial Conflict, edited by Arthur Kornhauser, McGraw, 1954; Labor Mobility and Economic Opportunity, edited by Paul Webbink, Wiley, 1954; Causes of Industrial Peace, edited by Clinton Golden, Harper, 1955; Common Frontiers of the Social Sciences, edited by Mirra Komarosky, Free Press, 1957; Contemporary Collective Bargaining, edited by Adolph Sturmthal, Cornell University Press, 1957; New Concepts in Wage Determination, edited by George Taylor and Frank Pierson, McGraw, 1957; Productivity and Progress, John Wilkes, editor, Angus & Robertson, 1957; Theory of Wage Determination, edited by John Dunlop, Macmillan, 1957; U.S. Industrial Relations, edited by Jack Stieber, Michigan State University Press, 1958; Wages, Prices, Profits and Productivity, edited by Charles Myers, American Assembly, Columbia University, 1959; Labor Commitment and Social Change in Developing Areas, edited by Wilbert Moore, Social Science Research Council, 1960; Goals for Americans, Prentice-Hall, 1960; The Contemporary University: U.S.A., edited by Robert Morison, Houghton Mifflin, 1966; Agenda for the Nation, edited by Kermit Gordon, Brookings Institution, 1968; Essays on World Education: The Crisis of Supply and Demand, edited by George Z. F. Bereday, Oxford University Press, 1969; The Great Ideas Today, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1969; The Modern University: Structure, Functions, and Its Role in the New Industrial State, edited by Peter A. Miescher, Carlo Henze, and Raeto Schett, Georg Thieme, 1969; The Embattled University, edited by Stephen R. Graubard and Geno A. Ballotti, Braziller, 1970; Perspectives on Campus Tensions, edited by David C. Nichols, American Council on Education, 1970; The Next Twenty-five Years of Industrial Relations, edited by Gerald G. Somers, 1973; Policy and Planning in Higher Education, edited by Robert McCaig, 1973; Education and the State, edited by John F. Hughes, 1975; The Status of the Visual Arts in Higher Education, edited by Donna Maddox, Clyde McCulley, and Fred V. Mills, 1976; Access, Systems, Youth and Employment, edited by Barbara B. Burn, 1977; and numerous other books.

Author of introduction, Universities, by Abraham Flexner, Oxford University Press, 1968. Director of report Presidents Make a Difference: Strengthening Leadership in Colleges and Universities, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, 1984. Contributor of numerous articles to economic, sociological, business, and other professional journals.

SIDELIGHTS: Clark Kerr was best known as the president of the University of California in the 1950s and 1960s, and for creating a master plan for higher education in the state that served as a national model. Having completed degrees in economics and with experience as a mediator in labor relations, he first joined the University of California—Berkeley as an economics and industrial relations professor. He was made chancellor of the Berkeley campus in 1952, and six years later was promoted to president of the entire University of California system. Kerr successfully transformed the campuses into an integrated "multiversity," a term originally coined by him, and he has also been credited with dramatically raising the University of California's standing as an intellectual center for study and research. In addition, he served as a key figure in establishing the PAC-10 athletic conference, and during his tenure as president he more that doubled the enrollment, oversaw the creation of new campuses in San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Irvine, and created his California Master Plan for Higher Education.

The 1960s were also a troubled time for universities around the country, however, as student activism and protest reached a height. The Berkeley campus was considered the epicenter for student unrest. Kerr took much of the heat for student radicalism; the FBI kept a file on him, with director J. Edgar Hoover calling him "a man with dangerous liberal leanings," according to Jonathan Kirsch in the Los Angeles Times. Kerr was in a difficult—some might say impossible—position, given that Berkeley was used as a center for research in developing atomic weapons for the U.S. government, while at the same time the government considered him too sympathetic to the university's students because he defended their right to free speech. Put under pressure by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan, Kerr was removed from the president's office in 1967, though he remained for a time as an economics professor. Refusing to be bitter about his firing, Kerr was nonetheless hurt by the abruptness of this action. Instead of moving on to another university, he took a job as chair of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education from 1967 to 1973, and then chair and staff director of the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies on Higher Education from 1974 to 1979. In this role, Kerr helped produce numerous publications on higher education policy that are still considered authoritative today.

Kerr related his experiences at the University of California in his two-volume work The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949–1967. The first volume, Academic Triumphs, discusses what he felt were the many considerable accomplishments made in education during his tenure as chancellor and president, while the second volume, Political Turmoil, parallels these years but focuses on the political battles he waged. Kirsch, in his review of Political Turmoil, noted that Kerr "refuses to take the blame" for having to associate with the government on its weapons program and praised the book for its "lively and often funny" look at his academic life. Writing in Change, Harold Orlans argued: "Kerr is best at recounting his own experience, more tedious when reporting developments at each UC campus." However, Science contributor Roger L. Geiger asserted, "Overall, Kerr's profound grasp of academic governance suffuses this book, and this material constitutes the book's greatest contribution to the scholarly literature on higher education. In another sense, this volume juxtaposes a clear and compelling vision of university development against the messiness of human relations." Pacific Historical Review writer G. Thomas Edwards concluded that The Gold and the Blue is "essential reading for students of American higher education."

Kerr, who died in 2003, is now considered to have been one of the most important leaders in American higher education during the twentieth century. In 2001, the president of the University of California created the Clark Kerr Lecture Series on the Role of Higher Education in Society in his honor.



Encyclopedia of World Biography, second edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Kerr, Clark, The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949–1967, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), Volume 1: Academic Triumphs, 2001, Volume 2: Political Turmoil,.


Change, May, 2002, Harold Orlans, review of The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949–1967, p. 8.

Economic Journal, June, 1988, Michael Jehan Rose, reviews of Economics of Labor in Industrial Society, p. 599.

Education Digest, January, 1994, Dudley Barrow, review of Higher Education Cannot Escape History: Issues for the Twenty-First Century, p. 76; April, 1994, Dudley Barlow, review of Troubled Times for American Higher Education: The 1990s and Beyond, p. 78.

Industrial and Labor Relations, October, 1995, Robert S. Smith, review of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations: Markets and Institutions, pp. 177-178.

Journalism Educator, winter, 1995, Wallace B. Eberhard, review of Higher Education Cannot Escape History, p. 78.

Journal of Economic Literature, December, 1995, Paula B. Voos, review of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations, p. 2001.

Library Journal, September 1, 2001, Scott Walter, review of The Gold and the Blue, Volume 1: Academic Triumphs, p. 200; January, 2003, Scott Walter, review of The Gold and the Blue, Volume 2: Political Turmoil, pp. 129-130.

Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1997, Amy Wallace, "An Educator's Legacy," interview with Clark Kerr, p. B2; March 16, 2003, Jonathan Kirsch, "Westwords: At the Head of His Class; review of The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949–1967, Volume 2: Political Turmoil," p. R2.

Manchester School of Economics and Social Studies, September, 1995, Derek Leslie, review of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations, p. 333.

Monthly Labor Review, March, 1988, Morris Weisz, review of Economics of Labor in Industrial Society, p. 51; October, 1995, Markley Roberts, review of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations, p. 50.

Pacific Historical Review, August, 2002, G. Thomas Edwards, review of The Gold and the Blue, Volume 1: Academic Triumphs, p. 515.

San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2003, Charles Burress, "The Long, Hard Years at Berkeley; Second Volume of Clark Kerr's Memoir Covers Politics and 'Blunders,'" p. 1.

Science, April 5, 2002, Roger L. Geiger, review of The Gold and the Blue, Volume 1: Academic Triumphs, p. 52.

Teachers College Record, winter, 1995, Roger Geiger, review of Higher Education Cannot Escape History, p. 334.



Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2003, pp. A1, A24.

New York Times, December 2, 2003, p. A28.

Times (London, England), December 23, 2003.

Washington Post, December 3, 2003, p. B6.

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