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Trustees talk about exciting changes in Stanford's arts landscape

At its Dec. 10-11 meeting, the Stanford University Board of Trustees heard presentations about the university's longstanding commitment to the arts. They also engaged in early discussions of an interdisciplinary neuroscience institute.

Jeff Goldberg Exterior of the Bing Concert Hall at night

The Board of Trustees heard presentations on the buildings that will compose the university's arts district, including the Bing Concert Hall, which will open in January.

With the opening of the Bing Concert Hall in January, Stanford will celebrate an exciting milestone in the evolution of the university's new arts district, Steven A. Denning, chair of the Board of Trustees, said earlier this week.

At its Dec. 10-11 meeting, trustees heard presentations about the arts at Stanford from David Lenox, university architect; Connie Wolf, director of the Cantor Arts Center; Wiley Hausam, managing director of Bing Concert Hall; Stephen Hinton, director of the Stanford Arts Initiative and a professor of music; Richard Saller, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences; and Matthew Tiews, executive director of arts programs at H&S.

"The arts at Stanford is a topic that the board takes great interest in," Denning said, adding that the presentations gave trustees a comprehensive view of the arts on campus from a historical and holistic perspective.

Trustees heard presentations on the constellation of buildings that will compose the university's arts district, including the Cantor Arts Center, Bing Concert Hall and Frost Amphitheater, and the future Anderson Collection at Stanford University and McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History.

In addition, trustees heard reports about new academic initiatives already under way at H&S, and new plans and programs at the Cantor Arts Center.

Denning said that watching Stanford's vision of the arts unfold since 2004, when he joined the Board of Trustees, has been "unbelievably exciting." He noted that the university will celebrate the opening of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University in 2014 and the McMurtry Building in 2015.

Stanford will celebrate the opening of Bing Concert Hall on Jan. 11 with a sold-out concert. Anna Deavere Smith – actress, author, playwright and scholar – will serve as master of ceremonies. Among the featured performers are Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony; the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford's world-renowned resident ensemble; and the student Japanese drumming troupe Stanford Taiko.

Board bids farewell to trustee Wendy Munger

Trustees gathered at Hoover House on Monday evening to honor the long and distinguished service of Wendy Munger, who became a trustee in 2003.

Munger, '72, served as vice chair and chair of the board's Committee on Academic Policy, Planning and Management, one of its key committees, for seven years.

Denning said Munger was an ardent and vocal supporter of the Arts Initiative, which was part of The Stanford Challenge, so it was fitting that the board heard a comprehensive report about the arts during her last meeting.

While she has completed her term on the board, Denning said Munger, who is a member of the 2012-13 Arts Advisory Council, would remain active at Stanford.

Unlocking the secrets of the brain

Denning said the board also discussed Stanford's Neuroscience Initiative and the possibility of creating a neuroscience institute on campus.

"The discussions are in the very, very preliminary stages," he said.

Denning said the institute could serve as the interdisciplinary focal point for the estimated 400 members of the faculty who are working to unlock the secrets of the brain, including faculty members in behavioral neuroscience, biology, business, chemistry, medicine, neuroeconomics, neurology, psychiatry and psychology.

"It's one of the areas of research that is ripe for profound advances that can benefit mankind," he said.

Construction projects

The board also gave project approval – the third step in the approval process – to renovate Florence Moore Hall, an undergraduate residence located near Lake Lagunita. The project budget increased $1.1 million to $14.25 million, due to increased costs for renovating the kitchen and servery. Trustees also gave project approval to the new Comstock Graduate Housing complex within Escondido Village.

Trustees gave project and partial construction approval to the C.J. Huang Building, a three-story clinical research building that will house the Asian Liver Center.

In addition, the board gave construction approval to the building that will house the Anderson Collection at Stanford, one of the largest and most outstanding private collections of post-World War II American art in the world.