Dr. John R. Gerdy serves as founder and executive director of Music For Everyone, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating the power of music as an educational and community-building tool in Lancaster County. Since 2006, MFE has invested over $4.1 Million in school and community arts organizations and initiatives to enhance music programs in Lancaster County, PA. He has authored eight books, among them The Journey of an Old White Dude in the Age of Black Lives Matter: A Primer”, Lights on Lancaster: How One American City Harnesses the Power of the Arts to Transform its Communities, Ball or Bands: Football vs. Music as an Educational and Community Investment (2014), Sports: The All-American Addiction (2002), and Air Ball: American Education’s Failed Experiment with Elite Athletics (2006). He has also been extensively published in journals and periodicals such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sporting News, Black Issues in Higher Education, NCAA News, and College Board Review.
John’s background and experience have afforded him a unique perspective. He grew up in Little Falls, NJ, the son of a high school football coach, who also was the school’s physics teacher. John was an all-state basketball player at Passaic Valley HS, where his jersey number is retired. A 1979 graduate of Davidson College, he received all-American honors and graduated as the career-leading scorer in school history, a record that stood for 30 years until a guy by the name of Steph Curry came along. Davidson retired his jersey in 1979 and inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1994. Davidson also awarded him the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service in 2014. He was drafted by the NJ Nets and played professionally in the Continental Basketball Association for one season.
John served as the youth sports program director at the Johnston YMCA in Charlotte NC for two years before enrolling in Ohio University where he earned his MA in sports administration (1983) and Ph.D. in Higher Education (1986). From 1986-89, Gerdy worked at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a legislative assistant before serving six years at the Southeastern Conference as Associate Commissioner for Compliance and Academic Affairs.
With the birth of their first child, John left the SEC to be a stay-at-home Dad. During this time, he began teaching as a Visiting Professor in Sports Administration at Ohio University and began writing in earnest. In 2007, he was chosen as one of America’s Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute of International Sport.
A lifelong musician, he has served as an “artist in residence” at the New School of Lancaster, teaching the Blues to children from first to fifth grades, conducting summer music camps, and performing in public regularly under the stage name of Willie Marble.
John also began painting in 2018. This, coupled with his experience as a musician and his commitment to music education and advocacy, lead him to publish a children’s book in 2019 titled Alphabone Orchestra: A Magically Musical Journey Through the Alphabet. John both wrote and illustrated the book, which is available through AlphaboneOrchestra.com. John is the father of two children and resides in Lancaster, PA.