Past Speaker: David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst at CNN
September 26, 2013
David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has served as an adviser to four U.S. presidents. He is a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School and the director of its Center for Public Leadership. In 2000, he published the best-selling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.
Gergen was born in Durham, North Carolina, where his father taught mathematics at Duke University. He graduated with honors from both Yale University (1963) and Harvard Law School (1967) and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for nearly three and a half years, posted to a ship in Japan.
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. Gergen went on to work in the administration of Gerald Ford and as an adviser to the 1980 George H.W. Bush presidential campaign.
He served as director of Communications for Ronald Reagan and as adviser to Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher on domestic and foreign affairs.
In his private life, Gergen works as a political journalist and analyst. From 1985-1986 he worked as an editor at U.S. News & World Report, where he also served as editor-at-large. Gergen’s career in television began in 1985, when he joined the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour for widely praised Friday night discussions of politics. Today, he appears frequently on CNN as senior political analyst and contributes a monthly column to Parade magazine.
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 Washington D.C. Bar and the Council on Foreign Relations and holds numerous honorary degrees.
Gergen lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife Anne, a family therapist. They have two children, Christopher and Katherine and four grandchildren.