Professor, university administrator. Born– March 14, 1917, in Savannah, Ga. Parents– Richard Willis and Virginia Lord (Nesbet) Heard. Education– University of North Carolina, A.B., 1938; Columbia University, M.A., 1948; Ph.D., 1951. Married– Laura Jean Keller on June 17, 1949. Children– Four. Served as editor for the Historical Records Survey of Georgia, WPA, 1938-1939; research assistant, Indian Service in New Mexico, 1938-1941; vice-consul, Quito, Ecuador, 1941-1943; U.S. naval officer, 1943-1946; research associate Bureau of Public Administration, University of Alabama, 1946-1949; professor and dean, Graduate School, University of North Carolina, 1950-1963; professor and chancellor, Vanderbilt University, 1963-1982. Contributed to professional journals, anthologies, and reference books. Served on the U.S. Advisory Commission in Governmental Relations and President Kennedy’s Commission on Campaign Cost, serving as Chairman. Member of Phi Beta Kappa, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American and Southern Political Science Associations.  Trustee of the Ford Foundation.  The Alexander and Jean Heard Library at Vanderbilt is named in honor of Heard and his wife. The Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt gives the Alexander Heard Award each year to the graduating senior with the highest GPA. Died July 23, 2009.


Contemporary Authors online


The Costs of Democracy. Chapel Hill, N.C.; University of North Carolina Press, 1960; revised edition, Anchor Books, 1962.

The Lost Years in Graduate Education. Atlanta; Southern Regional Education Board, 1963.

Money and Politics. New York; Public Affairs Committee, 1956.

Speaking of the University: Two Decades at Vanderbilt.  Nashville:  Vanderbilt University Press, 1995.

A Two-Party South? Chapel Hill, N.C.; University of North Carolina Press, 1952.


Bipartisan Political Fund Raising; Two Experiments in 1964. Princeton, N.J.; Citizens’ Research Foundation, 1967.

Made in America: Improving the Nomination and Election of Presidents.  New York;  HarperCollins, 1991.

The Quality of Life in the Year 2000; …. Princeton, N.J.; Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, Program in International Affairs, 1977.

Southern Politics in State and Nation. Knoxville, Tenn.; University of Tennessee Press, 1977.


State Legislatures in American Politics. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; Prentice-Hall, 1966.


Presidential Selection.  Durham:  Duke University Press, 1987.


The Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt University holds a collection of the papers of George Alexander Heard.