W Fund Independent Director, VP-Development, WSU and CEO, WSU Foundation
John has been an entrepreneur, an agricultural researcher, a passionate champion of sustainability, a teacher, a leader of community economic development and a senior academic administrator. He is the Vice President of Development for Washington State University (WSU) and CEO of the WSU Foundation. Prior to WSU, John was the Dean of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a charter business school among the first to offer an MBA in sustainability. VP at WSU responsible for better leveraging all of WSU’s assets for economic growth and vitality of the state. He filled a similar role at the University of Missouri as Vice President for Research and Economic Development. In all, he has been a student, faculty member, or administrator at five land grant universities.
Gardner is a native of the Kansas City area and earned degrees in agriculture and agronomy at Kansas State University, and a PhD at the University of Nebraska in plant physiology. He spent twenty years in Carrington, North Dakota, much of it as Director of the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center. His work on the domestication of new crops led to business interests throughout the 1990’s. He was one of the founders and chief executive of AgGrow Oils, a 540 member LLC that integrated the production, processing, and marketing of both novel and designer oilseeds.