John Gardner at Home

Memories from Ian Rumfitt

I have had the pleasure of being John's colleague at two colleges: at Univ. from 2000 until 2005 (when I decamped for London) and at All Souls since 2016. In each place, there was no greater force for good. Although he was only in his mid thirties when he joined us at Univ., even then he saw very clearly something it has taken me much longer to appreciate: namely, that when there is injustice in a college, that is usually due, not to malevolence, but to a reluctance to ruffle feathers by confronting hard truths. I have so much admired John on the many occasions when he has brought groups of fellows (and sometimes the whole Governing Body) to face what needed to be faced, not in a moralistic spirit but with humour, thereby enabling colleagues to come back together after the issue has been resolved. Many of us who have never studied jurisprudence have learned this (and more) from him, and we will be applying the lessons long into the future.