Passing of a Local Treasure Tremendous Loss to LSU Health Sciences Center, City of New Orleans and Beyond
New Orleans, LA – Ron Gardner, 68, an administrator at LSU Health Sciences Center for three decades, died September 22, 2015, after a long illness. He served in various administrative capacities, most recently, as Vice Chancellor for Administrative, Community and Security Affairs. In addition to his many responsibilities at the university, Gardner represented the Health Sciences Center and earlier constituents on many levels.
Gardner served the city he loved in numerous capacities. He was a very trusted assistant to the late Mayor Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial. He was Vice Chairman of the Mayor's Military Advisory Committee and was asked to chair the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Transition Team, consolidating the offices of the Civil and Criminal Sheriff. He was an integral part of rebuilding the City following the devastation after Hurricane Katrina. Working with local, state and federal partners, he served as a member of the Health and Social Services Committee of the Bring New Orleans Back Commission. He was an Executive Committee member of both the New Orleans Federal City Project and of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation. Gardner was also a Commissioner on the Regional Transit Authority (RTA).
A founding member and the only three-time Chairman of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Gardner led the successful bid for New Orleans to host Super Bowl XLVII. He was at the helm for everything from the bid process, through coordination with the City of New Orleans and civic, business, and community organizations, raising the funds necessary to support an event of this magnitude, recruiting thousands of volunteers all the way to and through Game Day. He was the go-to guy for the NFL, a role he played with previous Super Bowls, as well as for the NBA for the 2014 All Star Game in New Orleans. He also played key roles in attracting and hosting a number of Final Fours as well as the 1992 Olympic Track and Field Trials held in New Orleans. Gardner was cofounder of the New Orleans Bowl.
He served as Secretary-Treasurer and then Chairman of the Downtown Development District and was Vice Chairman of the Orleans Parish Private Industry Council. A Past President of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Louisiana, over the years, Gardner served in various leadership and support positions with the Urban League, NAACP, Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA.
No matter how busy his schedule was, Gardner always made time for young people. Over a 40-year period, he mentored many young students in the New Orleans area. He volunteered for countless causes, especially those benefitting children and the elderly, and was active in his church.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Wilson Gardner of New Orleans; sons Jason E. Gardner and Corey K. Wilson of Baton Rouge, and Dwayne London of Houston, TX; daughter Raquel Robinson of Houston, TX; sisters Julie Billips and Faye Antoine of New Orleans and Arthelle Gardner of Anchorage, AK; brothers Anthony Gardner of Compton, CA, and Stacy Gardner of Las Vegas, NV; as well as grandsons Devin Robinson and Monterreo Robinson and great-granddaughter Peyton Robinson.