David Gergen, adviser to four U.S. presidents, director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and chair of the Elon University School of Law Advisory Board, will deliver the inaugural Commencement address for the law school, scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, May 24, at Carolina Theatre in downtown Greensboro. Elon University will also present Gergen with an honorary doctorate at the ceremonies.
As a commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, best-selling author and presidential adviser, Gergen has been an active participant in American national life for 40 years. He served as director of communications for President Reagan and held positions in the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford. In 1993, he put his country before politics when he agreed first to serve as counselor to President Clinton on both foreign policy and domestic affairs, then as special international adviser to the President and to Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
Currently, Gergen is editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report, a senior political analyst for CNN, and a frequent lecturer at venues around the world. His book, “Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton” was published by Simon & Schuster in 2000.
“David Gergen is one of the nation’s most influential and insightful public servants,” said Leo M. Lambert, Elon president. “We are honored that he has accepted our invitation to address the law school’s first graduating class. As a founding force for Elon Law, David has championed the ideal that a legal education should not only prepare students to be excellent lawyers, but also leaders in their communities and beyond. We are grateful for David’s friendship, for his significant contributions to the law school, and for the positive impact he continues to have in shaping the school’s program and advancing its values.”
Gergen’s contributions to Elon University’s intellectual life and institutional development are numerous. In January 2001, he served as a panelist for a symposium titled “The First 100 Days of the 21st Century Presidency.” In April 2003, Gergen interviewed legendary broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite before an audience of 2,900 at Elon’s Convocation for Honors. In January 2004, he was Elon Law’s inaugural Isabella Cannon Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership, speaking to classes and delivering three public lectures.
Gergen, who has chaired the Elon University School of Law Advisory Board since its inception in 2005, also played a key role in the formation of the school’s advisory board and in developing Elon Law’s partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro.
A native of Durham, N.C., Gergen is an honors graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. He holds 17 honorary degrees and is a member of the Washington, D.C. bar.
The Commencement exercises will be followed by a processional from Carolina Theatre to Center City Park in Greensboro, where a reception for the graduating class will be held at 4 p.m. For more information about Elon University School of Law and the weekend schedule of events surrounding the school’s Commencement exercises, visit law.elon.edu.