Clark Kerr Lectures On the Role of Higher Education in Society

Clark Kerr lecturing at Greek TheaterThe lecture series was established in 2001 under the auspices of the Center for Studies in Higher Education on the Berkeley campus. Initial funding for the lectures was provided by the University of California's Office of the President, and subsequently major complementary funding has been received from the Carnegie Corporation. The Center for Studies in Higher Education has established an agreement with the University of California Press for publication of the second and future lectures.


The Clark Kerr Lectures series honors Clark Kerr, president of the University of California from 1958 to 1967 and long recognized as one of the great leaders of American higher education in the twentieth century.  Kerr headed the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education and then the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education from 1967 until 1979. He came to UC Berkeley in 1945 as an associate professor of industrial relations and was chancellor at Berkeley from 1952 until 1958.

The Lectures provide a forum for analysis and reflection about the forces shaping universities and the complex roles they play in modern society.  Recipients of the honor are selected once every two years and are sponsored by Center for Studies in Higher Education.  Lectures are given at one or more of the university's ten campuses.  Previous holders of the lectureship include Neil Smelser, Harold Shapiro, Charles Vest, Donald Kennedy, and Hannah Gray.  

Simon MarginsonThe 2014 Clark Kerr Lecturer is Simon Marginson, Professor of International Higher Education at the University of London.  He is a distinguished scholar of remarkable depth and breadth.  Drawing on disciplines from sociology and history to political economy and political philosophy, he brings a consistently international and comparative perspective to a wide range of topics involving university systems, policy, and organization.   During the past decade he has done extensive research on globalization and higher education; the impact of university rankings and international competition; and the global strategies of leading Asian-Pacific research universities across 18 countries in the region.  His most recent work deals with problems of equality, freedom, and creativity, and public universities’ role in creating the public good.  

The author or co-author of dozens of books, articles, reports, and scholarly studies, he is one of world’s most frequently cited researchers in the area of international higher education.  He serves as Joint Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, the leading international journal in the field, and as a member of 15 other editorial boards.

Before his October 2013 appointment to the University of London’s Institute of Education, Marginson was for many years a faculty member at the University of Melbourne’s Center for the Study of Higher Education.   His honors include the University of Melbourne’s Woodward Medal in the Humanities and Social Sciences for his research on higher education and globalization; the Critics Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association for his 2010 book Imagination: Three Models of the Imagination in the Age of the Knowledge Economy; and appointment as a Lifetime Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education in the United Kingdom.   A native of Australia, he is the first Clark Kerr Lecturer chosen from outside the United States.

Professor Marginson will present the series of three Kerr Lectures during the weeks of September 29 and October 6, 2014.  The first two will be held on the Berkeley campus and the third at UC San Diego.

For more information about any of CSHE's lectures and events, contact the Center for Studies in Higher Education at 510-642-5040 or email

2014 Clark Kerr Lecture

Simon MarginsonSimon Marginson, Professor of International Higher Education at the University of London

2012 Clark Kerr Lecture

Neil Smelser imageNeil Smelser, University Professor Emeritus of Sociology for the University of California 


2009 Clark Kerr Lectures

Hanna Holborn Gray imageHanna Holborn Gray, President Emeritus, Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Professor of History, University of Chicago 

2007 Clark Kerr Lectures

Donald Kennedy imageDonald Kennedy, President Emeritus, Stanford University, Editor of Science


2005 Clark Kerr Lectures

Charles Vest imageCharles Vest, President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


2003 Clark Kerr Lectures

Harold Shapiro imageHarold Shapiro, President Emeritus, Princeton University, and President Emeritus, University of Michigan