David T. Kearns

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

David Todd Kearns (August 11, 1930 – February 25, 2011) was an American businessman who was CEO of Xerox Corporation (1982–1990) and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (1991–1993). He died on February 25, 2011.

Early life[edit]

Kearns grew up in Rochester, New York where he met his future wife, Shirley Virginia Cox. He earned a degree in business administration in 1952 from the University of Rochester, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Kearns entered U.S. Navy flight school and was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS Coral Sea as an airman. Starting in 1954, Kearns worked at IBM.[1]

Xerox Corporation[edit]

In 1971, Kearns joined Xerox Corporation as Vice President. He also served as head of U.S./Marketing and Service at Xerox in Rochester, New York and later as Vice President of Foreign Markets in Stamford, Connecticut. In 1977, he became Xerox President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1982, Kearns became CEO of Xerox Corporation. In 1985, Kearns succeeded Charles Peter McColough as Chairman of Xerox.[1]

Department of Education[edit]

Kearns was nominated by President George H.W. Bush as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education on March 22, 1991. The United States Senate confirmed him for the position on May 31, 1991.

Following the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, California, President George H.W. Bush appointed Kearns as White House liaison to help resolve the conflict.[2]

Private life[edit]

Kearns left the US Department of Education on January 20, 1993. He later joined the faculty of Harvard University's Graduate School of Education where he taught for two years. Kearns has served on the board of trustees for the Ford Foundation, Time Warner, Dayton Hudson, and Ryder. He is also a former Chairman of the National Urban League.[1]

Kearns was Chairman of New American Schools, an organization dedicated to excellence in American schools. New American Schools has since merged with the American Institutes for Research.

The University of Rochester established the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Science and Engineering to expand the pool of individuals who pursue undergraduate and graduate careers in the sciences and engineering.[3]

Kearns has published three books including: Winning the Brain Race (1991), A Legacy of Learning (1999) and Crossing the Bridge: Family, Business, Education, Cancer, and the Lessons Learned (2005).

Kearns and his wife, Shirley, have four daughters and two sons. They have 18 grandchildren.


Kearns lost his left eye to radiation treatment related to his cancer in 1993, prompting him to wear an eye patch for the rest of his life.[4]

Kearns died on February 25, 2011 at the age of 80 near his home in Florida from complications related to sinus cancer.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Kearns, David T (31 May 2005). "Crossing the Bridge: Family, Business, Education, Cancer, and the Lessons Learned". Meliora Press.
  2. ^ George Bush Presidential Library & Museum (1992). Remarks in a Roundtable Discussion With Leaders of the African-American Community in Los Angeles.
  3. ^ University of Rochester (2005). David T. Kearns Center Archived 2008-09-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Zeller Jr, Tom (2011-02-25). David T. Kearns, Champion of Education Reform, Dies at 80. New York Times, article dated 25 February 2011, printed 26 February 2011. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/education/26kearns.html.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Archie R. McCardell
President of Xerox Corporation
Succeeded by
Paul A. Allaire
Preceded by
C. Peter McColough
CEO of Xerox Corporation
1982 – July 31, 1990
Succeeded by
Paul A. Allaire
Preceded by
C. Peter McColough
Chairman of Xerox Corporation
Succeeded by
Paul A. Allaire