Professor of Public Service and
Director of the Center for Public Leadership
Harvard Kennedy School
David Gergen is the chair of the Elon University School of Law Board of Advisors, former adviser to four United States presidents, CNN senior political analyst, and editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report. As a commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, bestselling author and presidential adviser, Gergen has been an active participant in American national life for 40 years. He held positions in the administrations of Presidents Reagan, Nixon, Ford and Clinton. A native of Durham, NC, Gergen is a frequent lecturer at venues around the world. He is an honors graduate of Yale University (1963) and Harvard Law School (1967), and is a member of the Washington, D.C. Bar. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for nearly three and a half years, posted to a ship in Japan.
In 2000, Gergen published the best-selling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.
Gergen joined the Nixon White House in 1971, as a staff assistant on the speech writing team, a group of heavyweights that included Pat Buchanan, Ben Stein, and Bill Safire. Two years later, he took over as director. Gergen went on to become the Director of Communications for Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, a counselor on domestic and foreign affairs for Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, and an adviser to the 1980 George H.W. Bush presidential campaign.
Gergen was the first managing editor of Public Opinion, a magazine affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, and from 1985-1986 he worked as an editor at U.S. News & World Report, where he remains an editor-at-large. Gergen’s career in television began in 1985, when he joined the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour for Friday night discussions of politics. Today, he appears frequently on CNN as an analyst for Anderson Cooper 360 and Situation Room.
Gergen joined the Harvard faculty in 1999. He is active as a speaker on leadership and sits on many boards, including Teach for America, the Aspen Institute, and Duke University, where he taught from 1995-1999. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and holds 18 honorary degrees.