DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > DePaul University mourns the passing of life trustee Edward Gardner
By Jessica Peterson /
March 28, 2023 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
It is with sadness we announce that DePaul University life trustee Edward Gardner passed away on Monday, March 20.
Gardner was elected to the board of trustees in 1988 and became a life trustee in 1997. During his time as an active trustee, he served on the Nominating/Personnel and Student Affairs committees.
Gardner and his wife, Bettiann, founded Soft Sheen in Chicago in 1964, which grew to become the largest, Black-owned beauty company in the United States by the late 1980s. In addition to being a successful businessman, Gardner, who lived on the South Side of Chicago his entire life, was a community leader and activist. He helped create the nonprofit Black On Black Love, which addressed violence in Black communities.
Roughly 40 years ago, he raised $300,000 and committed staff to mount a campaign that registered more than 200,000 voters, which led to the election of Mayor Harold Washington as Chicago's first Black mayor. In 2012, Gardner organized more than 1,000 demonstrators on a march to protest a lack of Black workers at a South Side construction site. He and his wife were also known for their dedication to the arts.
A private family service is planned.