About John C. Whitehead '43

John Whitehead was born in Evanston, Illinois on April 2, 1922, the son of Eugene C. and Winifred K. Whitehead.

In 1924 his family moved to New Jersey where he resided until 1985. John grew up in Montclair, attended public schools there and graduated from Montclair High School in 1939. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Haverford in 1943. He was a popular student and was selected as permanent class president, president of the student government and also wrote for the college newspaper. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy where he participated in the invasions of Normandy, Southern France, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, John attended Harvard Business School and received an MBA, with distinction, in 1947.

After graduation from Harvard, John went to Wall Street where he joined Goldman, Sachs and Company. He rose quickly through the ranks and was named partner in 1956, and Senior Partner and Co-Chairman in 1976. John remained Co-Chairman until he retired from Goldman Sachs in 1984. He has served on the boards of numerous companies and as Chairman of the Securities Industry Association from 1972 to 1973, and as Director of the New York Stock Exchange from 1982 to 1984.

Less than a year after his retirement, John was appointed U.S. Deputy Secretary of State under George Shultz and served until 1989. John acted as Secretary of State when George Shultz was away from Washington and became involved with the United Nations and Eastern European relations. John was a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, awarded by President Ronald Reagan.

John Whitehead, yearbook photo

Yearbook photo.

John Whitehead

In 1989 John was appointed Chairman of AEA Investors, a special situation investment concern in New York. Though no longer Chairman, John retains an office there and continues as a consultant. In 1999 John was named Chair of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, which was created by the Goldman Sachs Group to create, nurture and expand programs that build the learning, creative and leadership skills of talented young people.

In November 2001, he was appointed by New York Governor George Pataki to chair the Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is charged with coordinating efforts to rebuild and revitalize the former World Trade Center site. He is also serving as Chairman of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.

John has served on Haverford's Board of Managers for more than 30 years and was chairman from 1972 to 1982. His support has led to the establishment of the Whitehead Fund for Faculty Development and the John Whitehead Professorship in the Humanities. John also served as an adjunct member of the Development Committee and is a member of the Corporation. In 1983, the college awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree, as part of Haverford's sesquicentennial celebration. He also holds honorary degrees from Pace, Rutgers, Harvard, Seton Hall and Amherst.

Since he returned to New York from Washington in 1989, John has been active in a number of educational, civic and charitable organizations. He is a former Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the United Nations Association, the International Rescue Committee, the Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts, International House, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harvard Board of Overseers, and the Asia Society. He is currently a Director of the Nature Conservancy, Lincoln Center Theatre, The EastWest Institute and the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships, and a former Director of Rockefeller University, the J. Paul Getty Trust, Outward Bound, and the National Humanities Center. In Washington, he is Chairman Emeritus of The Brookings Institution and the Trustees Council of the National Gallery of Art. John received The New Jersey Historical Society Award in 1991.