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Trustees approve 2012-13 Budget Plan, new graduate housing in Escondido Village, other projects, initiatives

Trustees took action on several construction projects in various stages of development – from design to construction approval. The board bid farewell to Leslie Hume, who has served as chair for four years, and heard a presentation on the state of the School of Education from Claude Steele, its new dean.

The Stanford University Board of Trustees recently gave concept and site approval for four new residences in Escondido Village, a graduate student neighborhood on the east side of campus.

At its June 13-14 meeting, the Board of Trustees also gave design approval to two new arts buildings – the Anderson Collection at Stanford University and the McMurtry Building, the future home of the Department of Art and Art History.

L.A. CiceroLeslie Hume portrait

Leslie Hume, chair of the Board of Trustees

"The arts district on campus is just going to be a stellar one," said Leslie Hume, chair of the Board of Trustees, referring to the district that also includes the new Bing Concert Hall, which will open in January 2013, and the Cantor Arts Center.

Trustees took action on several construction projects making their way through the various stages of the board's approval process – from design to construction.

In addition to the Comstock Graduate Housing project, two other construction projects received initial approvals from trustees: a new clinical research building for the Stanford School of Medicine, and a renovation project at Stanford Law School's Crown Quadrangle to create a home for the Institute for Law and Policy.

Trustees also approved a new energy efficiency proxy voting guideline.

Finally, the board approved the Stanford University Budget Plan 2012-13.

Reflections of an outgoing chair

It was the last board meeting for Hume, who took the helm as chair in July 2008. She was the second woman to hold the position. The first was Jane Stanford, who founded the university with her husband, Leland Stanford, in 1885. Hume joined the Board of Trustees in 2000. She served two terms as chair.

Hume, whose term as chair ends June 30, was recognized for her service at a Wednesday dinner at the Lou Henry Hoover House.

Asked to reflect on the last four years, Hume talked about a recent dinner with the Stanford students who sit on the board's committees.

"When you talk to these students and hear about their plans, and you see the kind of people they are and what this education has meant to them, you really feel that Jane and Leland Stanford's vision of making a difference for our children's children's children – and helping to make a better future – is really alive and well," Hume said.

Hume also talked about how Stanford had weathered the 2008-2009 economic downturn and come through the crisis in "remarkable shape," due to the leadership of President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy.

"As I said to the board at our Wednesday dinner, these are leaders you want in good times, but you certainly want them in bad times," Hume said. "The tone they set at the top, and their commitment to excellence and to this university is reflected throughout the entire administrative team. Working with leadership of that caliber and a team as good as this one was a real gift to a board chair."

Hume said that by almost any measure – including the number of student applications, the quality of its leadership, the strength of its faculty, the excellence of its departments, the path-breaking research, the tradition of interdisciplinary research – Stanford's "star" has never been higher.

Hume also praised The Stanford Challenge, the five-year campaign that raised $6.2 billion to seek solutions to global problems and educate leaders for a more complex world, and applauded the generosity of donors.

She said it has been "a gift and a privilege" to serve as chair of the Board of Trustees.

"My board colleagues made my job a pleasure," Hume said. "They are constructive, helpful, smart and unbelievably generous in the care, time and thought they give to the university. The depth of their commitment to Stanford, and the spirit they bring to their board work are inspiring."

Report on the School of Education, online education

Trustees heard a report from Claude Steele, the I. James Quillen Dean of the School of Education, on the state of the school and future challenges and opportunities.

"Dean Steele came back to Stanford in September, and we were thrilled that we lured him from Columbia," Hume said.

She said Steele discussed several topics, including the school's strong tradition of exemplary teacher training and interdisciplinary research on educational policy, and future opportunities for using technology to improve K-12 education.

Trustees also heard an update on online education from President Hennessy.

"President Hennessy spent a lot of time over the last four months while he was on a sabbatical leave thinking about the opportunities that technology offers to improve the education we give to students on this campus and to also provide more Stanford-like courses to many, many more students," Hume said.

"This is a very fast-moving area. It's very complex. There are a lot of issues to consider. The board established an ad hoc committee on online education last February. President Hennessy appointed computer science Professor John Mitchell as special assistant for educational technology last January. You're going to hear a lot more about online education next year."

Comstock Graduate Housing

Trustees approved a proposal to build four, four-story graduate residences in Escondido Village. Nine existing low-rise buildings, which were built in 1959, will be demolished to make way for the new complex.

The Comstock Graduate Housing complex will house 436 graduate students in two-bedroom apartments, premium studios and junior studios with shared kitchens.

The $120 million project is expected to return to trustees for design approval in October. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2013. The complex is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

"This project will allow us to expand and improve graduate housing on this campus," Hume said. "It's a great project."

Asian Liver Center

Trustees gave concept and site approval for a three-story clinical research building, located at 780 Welch Road in Palo Alto, for the Stanford School of Medicine. The 31,000-square-foot building will replace a smaller building on the site.

The Asian Liver Center will occupy 6,000 square feet on the ground floor.

"There's a real opportunity here to create connection and synergy between this new facility and the Jill and John Freidenrich Center for Translational Research, which we broke ground on last summer," Hume said. "This is a very exciting project of the Medical Center."

The project is valued at $23.2 million, including $18.8 million for the building and $4.4 million for a one-level underground parking garage.

It is expected to return to the Board of Trustees for design approval in October. The building is expected to be completed by July 2014.

Crown Quadrangle renovation

Trustees gave concept approval to renovating the third floor of the Robert Crown Law Library Building, located in the Crown Quadrangle, to create a home for the new Institute for Law and Public Policy at the Stanford Law School.

Currently the floor consists of library space and former faculty offices that were vacated by law faculty when the William H. Neukom Building opened in 2011.

Under the project, the 30,000-square-foot space will be gutted and rebuilt with a focus on flexibility and collaboration.

The $14 million project is expected to return to the Board of Trustees for project approval in October and for construction approval in December. Renovation is expected to begin in 2013.

Library Building renovation

Trustees gave project approval to renovating the Graduate School of Business South Building, located between the Oval and Memorial Auditorium, to create a new home for the occupants of Meyer Library – including the East Asia Library.

The GSB South Building has been empty since the Graduate School of Business moved into its new campus, known as the Knight Management Center.

The five-story building was built in 1966 and more than half of the proposed scope of the project is directly attributable to deferred maintenance and mechanical, electrical and plumbing costs required to extend the useful life of the building.

Stanford needed to find a new home for the occupants of Meyer Library because the university plans to tear down the building, rather than spend more than $45 million to bring it into compliance with current seismic safety standards.

The $57 million project received concept approval last October.

The GSB South Building will be renovated to accommodate the East Asia Library, Academic Computing Services, Digital Library Systems and Services, Enterprise Systems and Programming, and Technical Services.

In addition, Stanford will provide classroom space for the Office of the University Registrar and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, both of which currently have classrooms in Meyer.

Inside GSB South, the East Asia Library will occupy the former Jackson Library, a two-story space with a sweeping staircase. Also, the East Asia Library will have compact shelving in the basement of the building.

The project is expected to return to the Board of Trustees for construction approval in December. Construction is expected to begin in January 2013 and be completed in the spring of 2014.

Board action on other construction projects

The board gave project and construction approval – the last steps in the process – to a $17 million addition to the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, the home of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation. The addition is expected to open in October 2013.

The board gave construction approval to the Stanford School of Medicine to renovate two buildings on Porter Drive. The project was first presented to trustees in December 2011. The School of Medicine expects to occupy the buildings – located at 3155 and 3165 Porter Drive – by the late summer or early fall of 2013.

Finally, trustees also gave construction approval for the Bioengineering/Chemical Engineering Building – the final building to be constructed in the Science and Engineering Quad. The building is expected to be completed in 2014.

New energy efficiency proxy voting guideline

Here is an excerpt from the new guideline:

"Voting Policy: Stanford University votes 'yes' on reasonable resolutions requesting that companies set goals, monitor and report on progress to increase the energy efficiency of operations and products.

"Stanford University votes 'no' on shareholder resolutions (a) which are clearly inconsistent with these principles in whole or in part, (b) which are already adequately covered by existing relevant laws, (c) which interfere with the company's compliance with local laws, unless those laws are inconsistent with the United Nations Global Compact, the Ceres Principles, the G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, or Stanford's principles, or (d) which impose an unreasonable cost or administrative burden on the company when weighed against potential benefits."

Hume said the new guideline was "very tangible evidence of Stanford's commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency."

The new energy efficiency proxy voting guideline was recommended by Stanford's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing. The panel advises the Board of Trustees and the university president by addressing ethical concerns related to potential endowment-held securities whose business policies and practices could cause "substantial social injury."

Trustees also approved amendments to Stanford's existing Diversity Proxy Voting Guideline and existing Human Rights Proxy Voting Statement.

Trustee news

The Board of Trustees welcomed Jeffrey S. Raikes, chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to his first meeting.

Trustees also elected Susan R. McCaw to a second five-year term.