Will I Learn to Read Today?: Ernest Boyer's Early Life and Career in Higher Education

By Moser, Drew | Vitae Scholasticae, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

Will I Learn to Read Today?: Ernest Boyer's Early Life and Career in Higher Education


Moser, Drew, Vitae Scholasticae


Scholar, administrator, education reformer, devoted Christian, husband and parent, Ernest Boyer (1928-1995) was one of the most influential leaders in higher education of the twentieth century. Boyer held prominent positions of educational leadership spanning three decades. As former chancellor of the State University of New York System (1971-1977), United States Commissioner of Education during the Carter administration (1977-1979), and President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1979-1995), Boyer's career was devoted to public education in America. This paper will explore Boyer's early life, the development of his Christian faith, and the primary influences during his formative years. It will also explore his formal education and will identify key individuals and events that shaped his childhood, young adulthood, and chosen career. Also, the paper examines his brief stint as a Brethren pastor, his graduate studies at the University of Southern California, and first role as a professor and administrator at Upland College (a small, Brethren college in California) to observe how a diverse educational pedigree and professional life shaped Boyer the scholar and administrator.

Early Life (1928-1944)

The years of childhood are undoubtedly formative. Trajectories are set. People and experiences mark one's mind and soul, forming belief systems, worldviews, passions, and interests. Ernest Boyer's childhood is no exception. The people and experiences of "Ernie' the young boy instilled distinct values, formed salient beliefs, and fostered a commitment to service, a strong work ethic, and a love for learning. Together, they prepared Boyer to be a pivotal leader in education in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Parents. Ernest Boyer was born on September 13, 1928 to Clarence William Boyer and Ethel Marie Boyer in Dayton, Ohio. Ernest entered a family with modest means and a hopeful future. His father Clarence had been a bright student with a wide range of interests. He finished high school a rare feat for members of the "Plain Church" (a Brethren denomination with Pennsylvania Dutch Roots). According to Ernest Boyer's wife Kay, Clarence would have loved to attend college, but "that was pretty much unheard of. He then became a business man. And he was successful. But he was totally self-educated ... a Renaissance man. He knew everything." (1)

As a young bachelor, Clarence started an office supply business. His father, William, founded a mission in Dayton which employed a young woman named Ethel. Clarence and Ethel fell in love, and were married on April 2nd, which also happened to be their joint birthday. (2) Starting and sustaining a business at the advent of the Great Depression was a risky endeavor. Boyer's parents ran their business out of their home. (3) It was truly a family affair, remembers Boyer. It took "the effort of the entire family to make it pay. Some of my earliest memories are working with my brother in the basement where we packed boxes full of greeting cards." (4)

When Clarence was not building his business, he was pursuing numerous hobbies. For example, he had an insatiable curiosity illustrated in his pursuit of a life goal to meet Albert Einstein. He traveled to Princeton to meet the renowned physicist to pose an equation to him with deep theological implications: nuclear weapons plus X = peace. At Princeton, he waited in the hallway until Einstein emerged from his office. Boldly walking up to the world's most popular genius, he introduced himself and posed his query. (5) Unfortunately, no historical records provide Einstein's response.

Clarence and Ethel were devout Christians, actively involved in the Brethren church. Clarence served as a lay minister, preaching often. (6) Devout though they were, they refused to blindly adhere to tradition in the practice of their faith. Fred Holland, who married Ernest's cousin, Grace, remembers Clarence as a bit of a rebel in the church. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Will I Learn to Read Today?: Ernest Boyer's Early Life and Career in Higher Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.