John Gardner at Home

Memories from Leo Boonzaier

Hi Jenny,

We've never met, but I'm one of John's DPhil students.

John taught me on the BCL back in 2012-13 and I was completely transfixed. He was my tutor and a seminar leader in two of my courses, but I craved more of his teaching, so I attended his undergraduate lectures and seminars, extracurricular presentations, etc -- whatever he was teaching, I was there. (I think in some weeks I had eight hours with him.) I worked for a bit in my home country of South Africa after the BCL, but was determined to come back and fortunately John took me on for the DPhil. He was a wonderful supervisor; supremely intelligent, obviously, but also so warm and generous with his time, and very deliberate about allowing me to chart my own course, for which I'm very grateful. I've had a fantastic time on the course and learnt so much.

My girlfriend, Tatiana, is doing the BCL this year. Her undoubted highlight was her class presentation in the Law and the State seminar; happily John was, on that occasion, able to attend. He sent her a characteristically generous email after the seminar, which meant a huge amount to her. Now, as she revises for exams, John's scholarship is her guiding light, and she reads me particularly clever or amusing bits.

John is one of the few great people I've met -- certainly a great intellect, but also a great person. He was loved and admired by so many of his students; I don't think I've known anyone more widely adored. I'm still in awe of John's brilliant work, which is full of astonishing insight and erudition and will take decades to digest properly. It's a privilege to have known him, and he will long be an inspiration to me.

Our thoughts are with you at this grievous time.

All the best,