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1990 Horatio Alger Award Recipient

Ernest L. Boyer*


The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

“You can't do it all alone.”

Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1928, Ernest L. Boyer was seven when he started helping his father with door-to-door sales during the Great Depression. He also assisted with a typewriter business, another of his father's sidelines.

Boyer earned his bachelor's degree from Greenville College. Next, he did graduate study at Ohio State University before earning master's and doctorate degrees at the University of Southern California. He did postdoctoral work in medical audiology at the University of Iowa Hospital and served as a visiting fellow at Cambridge University in 1976. In 1985, he was named a Distinguished Fulbright Professor for India.

Boyer began his teaching career at Loyola University in Los Angeles as an assistant professor and director of forensics. He served four years as academic dean of Upland College in California. In 1965, he became vice chancellor and executive dean of the State University of New York and was appointed chancellor in 1970.

After serving on commissions that advised President Richard M. Nixon and President Gerald R. Ford, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to lead the United States as Commissioner of Education.


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