Bernard C. Watson


Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1999)
B.S., 1951


In the field of education, Bernard C. Watson has few equals. After earning a bachelor's degree in history and political science from IU in 1951, he entered the U.S. Air Force and was discharged in 1954 as a first lieutenant. A year later, with a master's degree in guidance and educational administration from the University of Illinois, he joined the Gary school system as a teacher, counselor, director of guidance, and within five years became a principal. He held several positions with the Graduate Department of Education of the University of Chicago while completing his Ph.D. there and went on to do postdoctoral work at Harvard University.

In 1967 he took a position with the Philadelphia school system and three years later joined the Temple University faculty where he served as professor and chair before being named vice president for Academic Administration. Since 1994 he has been a presidential scholar at Temple. Dr. Watson raised more than $200 million during the nearly 12 years he was president and chief executive officer of the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia. He also chaired the board of the Philadelphia Healthcare Management Alternatives Foundation for three years.

The author of three books and of countless articles, he has provided consulting services for the U.S. Office of Education, National Institute of Education, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and Education and labor Committee of the House of Representatives. His work has earned him numerous honors, including 21 honorary degrees.