He authored books on improving leadership in American society and other subjects. Berkeley. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University a center that partners with communities to develop leadership conduct research and effect change to improve the lives of youth.
During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a captain. Gardner was featured on the cover and in an article of the January 20 1967 Time magazine and later that year also presided over the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. During this tenure the Department undertook both the huge task of launching Medicare which brought quality health care to senior citizens and oversaw significant expansions of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that redefined the federal role in education and targeted funding to poor students.