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Don K. Price

"Conversations With and About Mike"


Don Krasher Price (23 January 1910 – 9 July 1995) was an American political scientist who served as the founding dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1958 to 1976. He wrote a number of books about United States history and government.

Price was educated at Middlesboro High School. He studied at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee from 1927 to 1931, and then came to Merton College, Oxford for three years on a Rhodes Scholarship. He was awarded a second class degree in History in 1934, and B.Litt. in 1935.

After serving as a lieutenant in the US Coast Guard during the Second World War, Price joined the Bureau of the Budget in 1946. He was deputy chairman of the US Department of Defense’s Research & Development Board from 1952 to 1953, then vice-president of the Ford Foundation until 1959. In 1958 he was appointed as the founding Dean at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Public Administration. From 1961 to 1963 he acted as an adviser to President Kennedy on the structure and operations of the US Federal Government. Price retired from the John F. Kennedy School of Government (as the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration had been renamed following Kennedy’s assassination) in 1976.

Price returned to Oxford in 1985 to spend a year at Balliol College as George Eastman Visiting Professor, during which time he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university.

A native of Middlesboro, Kentucky, Price died on 9 July 1995 in Wellesley, Massachusetts at the age of 85, as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Editor’s Note: The Appendix for “Conversations With and About Mike” contains transcripts for the recorded audio and video clips. To view the Audio Transcripts go to this page >


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About the Project

The purpose of this biography project is to make a fascinating man’s life and accomplishments come alive. Dr. Michael W. Kirst, while recognized in influential academic and policy circles, is generally unknown to those most actively engaged in American education in the trenches of the nation’s classrooms and local boardrooms, including teachers, principals, and school district leaders.

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About the Author

Dick Jung first met Dr. Michael W. Kirst four decades ago. Mike, then Professor in the Schools of Education and Business, was completing his first year as President of California’s State Board of Education. During Jerry Brown’s first term as Governor, as Mike tacked between Palo Alto and Sacramento, Dick served as the Teaching Assistant for Mike’s Stanford “Politics of Education” course.

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About the Team

Dick is supported by a project team of content, digital research, and online experts that includes a senior education policy reviewer, a digital archives manager, and a website and multimedia design coordinator.

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