Head of Stan­ford to step down in 2016

John Hen­nessy has built the uni­ver­sity’s ca­chet, en­dow­ment as pres­i­dent since 2000.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Larry Gor­don larry.gor­don@la­times.com Twit­ter: @lar­ry­gor­don­lat

Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent John L. Hen­nessy, who helped make the pres­ti­gious North­ern Cal­i­for­nia school among the most wealthy and well-con­nected to nearby Sil­i­con Val­ley over the last 15 years, will re­tire next sum­mer, the cam­pus an­nounced Thurs­day.

Hen­nessy, a com­puter sci­en­tist who was Stan­ford’s en­gi­neer­ing school dean and cam­pus provost be­fore be­ing in­au­gu­rated as pres­i­dent in Oc­to­ber 2000, said that it was time to re­turn to teach­ing and re­search.

“Main­tain­ing and im­prov­ing this uni­ver­sity is the work of many peo­ple, and I am deeply ap­pre­cia­tive of the ded­i­ca­tion of so many col­leagues to Stan­ford and its stu­dents,” Hen­nessy told the cam­pus fac­ulty Se­nate, ac­cord­ing to a uni­ver­sity an­nounce­ment.

Un­der Hen­nessy’s pres­i­dency, the Palo Alto cam­pus con­tin­ued to build its al­ready large en­dow­ment, which to­taled $21 bil­lion last year, and gar­nered $928 mil­lion in cash dona­tions in 2014, topped only by Har­vard.

With those re­sources and its in­vest­ments in Sil­i­con Val­ley through in­ven­tions by fac­ulty and stu­dents, Stan­ford has been able to ex­pand in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary re­search in bio­engi­neer­ing, bio­science, en­ergy and com­puter science. It has also sweet­ened fi­nan­cial aid so that fam­i­lies with in­comes up to $125,000 a year won’t pay any tu­ition for un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents.

Stan­ford has be­come the most dif­fi­cult school in the na­tion for fresh­man ap­pli­cants. This spring it ac­cepted only 5.05% of the 42,487 ap­pli­cants, a per­cent­age rate slightly lower than Har­vard’s.

Steven A. Den­ning, chair­man of Stan­ford’s Board of Trustees, de­scribed Hen­nessy’s pres­i­dency in a state­ment as “a re­mark­able run, one of the great­est not only in Stan­ford’s his­tory but also in the an­nals of Amer­i­can higher ed­u­ca­tion.”

The Stan­ford Board of Trustees will ap­point a com­mit­tee this sum­mer, to be headed by for­mer board Chair­man Isaac Stein, to search for a re­place­ment.

One ob­vi­ous can­di­date was taken out of the run­ning Thurs­day when Hen­nessy said that Stan­ford’s provost would not be a can­di­date for the pres­i­dency but would stay on in his cur­rent po­si­tion for up to one year with the next pres­i­dent.

Hen­nessy earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree at Vil­lanova Uni­ver­sity and a doc­tor­ate at the State Uni­ver­sity of New York at Stony Brook. He joined the Stan­ford fac­ulty in 1977 and rose up the ranks, suc­ceed­ing Ger­hard Casper, a Ger­man-born con­sti­tu­tional scholar, as pres­i­dent.

De­spite its pow­er­ful in­ter­na­tional ca­chet, Stan­ford is a rel­a­tively small school, with about 7,000 un­der­grad­u­ates and 9,100 grad­u­ate stu­dents.

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