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Stanford Report, September 22, 1999

'Gerhard Casper has exceeded our every expectation'

This is the text of the statement of the Board of Trustees on September 10, 1999.

When Gerhard Casper became Stanford's ninth president in 1992, he indicated that a tenure of eight years or so was about right for a university leader. Having served for seven years, President Casper has announced his intention to make the 1999-2000 academic year his last one as president. While we wish it were not so, we respect his judgment, and accept his decision with profound gratitude for his extraordinary leadership of Stanford University.

Stanford will start the next century in a position of unparalleled promise thanks to the remarkable accomplishments that his vision and dedication have made possible. The imprint of President Casper's intellectual and administrative leadership is on every aspect of university life ­ from the curriculum, to faculty, to students, to alumni, to management, to our lands and buildings, and to the resources that will assure Stanford's excellence for the future.

President Casper's emphasis on undergraduate education has set a new standard for higher education. In his first year as president, he established the Commission on Undergraduate Education, which undertook the first comprehensive examination of undergraduate education at Stanford in 25 years. As a result of its work, the student's first two years were transformed by Stanford Introductory Studies, the President's Scholars Program, and a renewed commitment to teaching and exposure to the rigors of research. The board believes strongly in the importance of these initiatives, and will work with President Casper and his successor to make sure that undergraduate education is well supported in long run. This will require a major new effort to fund the enterprise, and we are delighted that President Casper wishes to continue to participate actively in this endeavor.

President Casper has acted decisively to assure that Stanford will continue to attract exceptional graduate students and faculty and to affirm Stanford's commitment to excellence in graduate education. Stanford Graduate Fellowships and the Asia-Pacific Scholars Program are among the many programs developed under his leadership, along with the Presidential Research Grants for Junior Faculty, four President's endowed Chairs in the humanities, and the Presidential Lectures and Symposia in the Humanities and Arts.

Medical schools and hospitals throughout the country face difficult challenges, and Stanford's is no exception. President Casper's dedication to positioning the Stanford Medical Center to respond to a quickly changing environment, while maintaining the strength of its academic mission, has been above and beyond the call of duty. Under his leadership, the university integrated its own medical facilities and joined with the University of California to found UCSF Stanford Health Care. Since the merger, President Casper has worked tirelessly to assure successful operation of both Stanford Medical Center and UCSF Stanford Health Care. He will continue to lead this effort, including discussions currently under way that will redefine Stanford's evolving relationship with UCSF, with the board's full support and encouragement.

President Casper cares deeply about the Stanford campus, and has personally done much to preserve and restore its architectural heritage. The Quad and Green Library have been restored. Infrastructure, including technological capacity, has been thoughtfully planned and protected. Through competitions for the design of new buildings, the university has attracted some of the world's most gifted architects. President Casper's fine eye can be seen in the Science and Engineering Quad, the Schwab Residential Center, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts and elsewhere; together they build a stunning bridge between the university's architectural past and its future potential.

In addition, during his presidency the university budget has been restructured and the Alumni Association has been integrated into the university. President Casper has inspired superbly able people to assume positions of leadership on the faculty and staff. These accomplishments have positioned Stanford wonderfully for the future.

For this, and for all that President Casper has given of himself to Stanford University, the entire Stanford community salutes him. He has gone the extra mile to know, and to do, what is right for Stanford. We are pleased that we can count on his continuing strong leadership for the coming year, and throughout the period of transition to his successor.

The trustees were certain seven years ago that we had chosen the right person for the job, and Gerhard Casper has exceeded our every expectation. He has engaged each major issue facing the university, has balanced the need to manage with the need to innovate, and has met the complex challenges of running this institution with consummate reason, dignity and sensibility. Stanford thanks him. We acknowledge with great respect and appreciation the breadth of his accomplishments. President Casper's influence, here and throughout higher education, has been profound and permanent. SR