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Event The Dr. Edmund Gordon Distinguished Lecture Series

The Signature Event of SOE's Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice (SIEEJ)

Dr. Gordon's Legacy
Past Lectures

About the Series

Celebrating One of America's Foremost Scholars


Dr. Edmund Wyatt Gordon (born June 13, 1921) is a quintessential American. He is a historic American University (AU) Eagle, an alum of the university's School of Public Affairs (MA, '50), and current Scholar-in-Residence at AU's School of Education (SOE) where, in 2021, his momentous body of work resulted in him becoming the eponym of the signature event of the school's annual Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice (SIEEJ), the Dr. Edmund Gordon Distinguished Lecture Series.

SOE Dean Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, creator of SIEEJ, calls Dr. Gordon an "icon, a trailblazer, and an American hero."

Portrait of Renowned Educator Dr. Edmund Gordon

The establishment of the event, where outstanding nationwide scholars enthusiastically participate in SIEEJ to deliver keynote addresses which acknowledge Gordon's impact and legacy in the field of education, is a worthy one.

The early work is Dr. Gordon, who turned 100 on June 13, included being tapped by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve as an architect of the federal Head Start program, one of the most successful and effective of the federal government’s experiments on poverty. He is one of just a few scholars to occupy endowed professorships at two Ivy League universities and has held appointments at several prestigious institutions, including Howard, Yeshiva, Columbia, City University of New York, and Yale. In 2021, at least a dozen educational institutions across the country, including the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, NYU, Morehouse College, and University of Texas at Austin are celebrating Dr. Gordon’s contributions to the field with lectures and events. (Crockett)

Also in 2021, Gordon was named Honorary President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) - the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning - the first person to receive this recognition in the organization's history. (

He received AU’s Neil Kerwin Alumni Achievement Award in 2019. During the awards ceremony, Dr. Gordon reflected on his time at AU, saying “My privilege of being both admitted to American [University] 78 years ago and all of the other things that I have benefited from are rare in our society.” He went on to discuss his belief in the importance of universal access to education and the appropriate use of measurement science in education, saying “If we’re going to invest…in measuring people’s abilities, we ought to invest at least as much or more in developing those abilities.” (Crockett)

It is the hope of SOE that SIEEJ attendees worldwide partake in the celebration of Dr. Gordon's preeminent legacy.

SIEEJ Director Dr. Antonio Ellis said, "Dr. Gordon has transformed the fields of education research, practice, and policy through his pioneering scholarship on gaps in education opportunities and support for children of color and low-income students. As an emerging scholar, I look to Dr. Gordon and his extensive body of work for inspiration, guidance, and hope for the future. I am honored to share space with him in the academy and education community."

At SIEEJ 2023, on Wednesday, June 28 at American University, Dr. Tyrone Howard delivered the Dr. Edmund Gordon keynote address.

Legacy: Dr. Edmund Gordon

Dr. Edmund Gordon is the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Yale University, Richard March Hoe Professor, Emeritus of Psychology and Education and Founding Director of the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at Teachers College, Columbia University. From July 2000 until August 2001 Gordon was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Interim Dean at Teachers College, Columbia University. Professor Gordon’s distinguished career spans professional practice, scholarly life as a minister, clinical and counseling psychologist, research scientist, author, editor, and professor. He held appointments at several of the nation’s leading universities including Howard, Yeshiva, Columbia, City University of New York, Yale, and the Educational Testing Service. He has served as visiting professor at City College of New York and Harvard. Currently, Professor Gordon is the Senior Scholar and Advisor to the President of the College Board where he developed and co-chaired the Taskforce on Minority High Achievement. Author and/or editor of over 15 books and over 175 articles Gordon is a psychologist and expert in child development who has worked throughout his career on the issues and challenges of underprivileged and minority students in American education. As a clinician and researcher, he explored divergent learning styles and advocated for supplemental education long before most scholars had recognized the existence and importance of those ideas. He was Chief of the Head Start Research Office under President Lyndon Johnson and from 2011 to 2013 he organized and mentored the (ETS) Gordon Commission, bringing together scholars to research and report on the Future of Assessment for Education. His most recent publication, Human Variance and Assessment for Learning, co-edited with Eleanor Armour-Thomas, Cynthia McCallister, and A. Wade Boykin (October 2019, Third World Press), is a further development of ideas generated from the Gordon Commission. (


Keynote Speakers

The Dr. Edmund Gordon Lecture is the signature event of SOE's Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice (SIEEJ). SIEEJ was developed to convene local and national educators and education advocates to highlight new practices and strategies for addressing the educational needs of Black, Brown, and indigenous students. Debuting at SIEEJ in 2021, here are the Dr. Edmund Gordon Lecturer series' past keynote speakers:

Dr. Tyrone Howard SIEEJ Promo
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Dr. Tyrone Howard
Dr. Howard is the President of the American Educational Reseach Asssociation (AERA), the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. He is also an associate dean and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles' Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
• SIEEJ 2023 Theme: Eradicating the Stigma: Prioritizing Mental Health in PreK-16 Education
• In-Person & Virtual (Video Recording Link Available Soon)

Dr. David O. Stovall SIEEJ Promo
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Dr. David O. Stovall
Dr. Stovall is the Professor of Black Studies and Criminology, Law & Justice, the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
SIEEJ 2022 Theme: Courageous Educational Leadership: Transforming K-12 Education Through an Antiracist Lens
• Virtual (Watch the video recording here.)

Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings SIEEJ Promo
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billlings
Dr. Ladson-Billings is the Professor Emerita and former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
• SIEEJ 2021 Theme: Uplifting Women and Girls of Color Through Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice, and Policies
• Virtual*

A video recording is not available for this lecture.


Coming Soon

Conference Resources

LGBT Health Policy and Practice ProgramThe LGBT Health Policy & Practice Program
George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
For more information email Dr. Stephen Forssell