Three Reminders About Why We're Here

Marvin Moore, Daniel Pearl and John Gardner share a legacy of service.

May/June 2002

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Three Reminders About Why We're Here

Glenn Matsumura

There is no more beautiful building on campus than Memorial Church, a building conceived by Jane Stanford, inspired by her great love and respect for her husband. The church is both a sanctuary and living reminder of Mrs. Stanford’s belief that a great university must do more than cultivate students’ minds—it must also cultivate their spirits.

That message was never more powerfully demonstrated than at three separate memorial services, only a few days apart, at Memorial Church recently. They reminded all of us in the Stanford community what a unique and remarkable place our university is.

Marvin Moore came to Stanford in 1973 as a young deputy. At the time, he was at something of a crossroads in his life—when he applied to Stanford’s police department, he was still uncertain about his future calling. But Chief Marvin Herrington sensed great potential in the young Moore and hired him. Moore was promoted to sergeant in 1976, to lieutenant in 1978 and to captain in 1981. Herrington mentored his recruit throughout his early career, and soon, Moore himself became a mentor to the younger officers on the force. When Chief Herrington announced his retirement in 2001, Marvin Moore was everyone’s top choice for chief.

Chief Moore led the department for only a short time before he died suddenly earlier this year, but his gift for leadership touched everyone in this community. He was a man who placed great importance on family—personally and professionally—and he treated members of his Stanford family as he would treat his own. He would conclude each staff meeting with a simple phrase: “Remember, we are all family.” His family extended well beyond Stanford—hundreds of neighbors from East Palo Alto, members of his church and professional colleagues filled Memorial Church to remember Marvin’s life and his many contributions.

Daniel Pearl graduated from Stanford in 1985. As a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, his pursuit of truth in the dangerous circumstances that journalists come to accept represents the highest values of a free press in a democratic society. His death at the hands of terrorists and extremists was an attack on freedom and tolerance.

At his memorial, friends and teachers remembered a warm and intelligent young man of extraordinarily generous spirit, a gentle person who loved music, Kurt Vonnegut and soccer. Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann reminded us that the horror of Daniel’s murder must not overshadow the grandeur of his life. “Danny was a pearl, a jewel, with special luster, beauty and brilliance,” she said. The importance of individuals like Daniel to our community was made clear when an anonymous alumnus donated $50,000 to start an undergraduate scholarship fund in Daniel’s name.

It would be difficult to summarize John Gardner’s contributions to Stanford, much less to American society. From the 1960s forward, John, ’33, MA ’36, played a major role in civil rights enforcement, education and campaign finance reform. He was instrumental in creating Medicare and in establishing the public television network and the White House Fellows program. In 1964, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil honor. He founded Common Cause and headed the Urban Coalition, and chaired numerous presidential task forces and commissions.

At Stanford, John served on the Board of Trustees from 1968 to 1982. In 1984, Stanford Associates awarded him the Degree of Uncommon Man, the highest honor for service to Stanford. He was a founding member of the national advisory board of the Haas Center for Public Service and, in 1989, he was named the first Miriam and Peter Haas Centennial Professor in Public Service. He was a consulting professor in the School of Education at the time of his death. John’s commitment to public service and to the country’s youth will be enshrined in the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, a new partnership between the University and local communities to build practices, knowledge, and capacity for youth development and learning.

In the lives of Marvin Moore, Daniel Pearl and John Gardner, there is ample evidence that education and public service can work together as powerful forces to improve the world in which we live. Their lives also remind us that citizenship in a free society requires a personal commitment from each of us. John Gardner himself said this best in nine memorable words: “Freedom and responsibility, liberty and duty. That’s the deal.”

I hope you take the same pride I do in belonging to a community that has included three such exceptional people. I can think of no better tribute to them than to live in a way that aspires to the high ideals and good works that were so central to each of their lives.

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