The Humble Build


“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”

John William Gardner

John William Gardner was born in Los Angels, California in 1912 when the West was still considered the Frontier.  His father died when he was only one year old; from that moment on his mother became his mentor and his strongest supporter.  In 1929, John Gardner entered Stanford and gained a solid reputation through hard work. At that time, he met Aida Marroquin, a Guatemalan woman, who would change his destiny.  He loved her deeply, even learning fluent Spanish to be able to effectively communicate with her.  They married in 1934.  His Spanish would hold him in good stead during the war years.  It was in those early years his desire to nurture human potential had its roots.  Over the years, this aspiration would become an obsession for him. He worked tirelessly to effect changes in health and education.  He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1966.  John William Gardner knew how to build the infrastructure to cultivate and ready a new generation to take their place on the world stage.  He saw the future that we are living in…

“We don’t even know what skills may be needed in the years ahead.  That is why we must train our young people in the fundamental fields of knowledge, and equip them to understand and cope with change.  That is why we must give them the critical qualities of mind and durable qualities of character than will serve them in circumstances we cannot now even predict.”

John William Gardner, “Excellence”