Wide-ranging scholar praises counsel from others of similar breadth. We all owe our lives to someone, starting with mother and father and then outward along a spreading tree of life going back in time. For those who make a living in the academic realm, the second tree of life is entwined with the first: a branching series of mentors and intellectual influences. “We are the sum of whoever we worked with,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a celebrated, wide-ranging scholar based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). For him, that sum includes a few names everyone knows. Erik Erikson and David Riesman were both at Harvard when Gardner was an undergraduate. Jean Piaget and Claude Levi-Strauss corresponded with the young scholar before he earned his Harvard Ph.D. in 1971.
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