Stanford receives $5 million gift to endow a nuclear security professorship

In a move intended to bolster Stanford’s already impressive cohort of global security experts, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) has received a gift of $5 million from the Stanton Foundation to establish a professorship in nuclear security.

The professorship, which will be housed at the institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), is the foundation’s second such gift within a year.

“Nuclear security continues to be one of the most critical issues facing our world,” said FSI Director MARIANO-FLORENTINO CUÉLLAR. “Both the promise and perils of nuclear technology must be managed with extreme care in the decades ahead, a task that will call for insights from different disciplines and perspectives across CISAC and the university.”

The endowed chair, named The Stanton Foundation Professorship in Nuclear Security, will allow Stanford to recruit an internationally recognized scholar for an appointment at FSI and one of the university’s seven schools.

“We have an invitation to think boldly and creatively about national security from an interdisciplinary approach, and that’s what makes this gift so exciting,” said AMY ZEGART, co-director of CISAC. “We can broaden our reach into issues in a dynamic international security environment while keeping a core focus on nuclear security.”

U.S. soldiers sponge off their protective suits after a simulated nuclear detonation scenario at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. soldiers sponge off their protective suits after a simulated nuclear detonation scenario at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Today’s threats are changing faster and with greater uncertainty than ever before, and CISAC needs to stay on top of – and in front of – the security issues facing our nation, Zegart said.

The Stanton Foundation established its first endowed chair at CISAC in 2013 with a $5 million gift. It also funds CISAC’s Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowships for pre- and postdoctoral students and junior faculty who are studying policy-relevant issues related to nuclear security.

Former CBS president Frank Stanton, who established the foundation, became actively engaged in international security issues in 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to a committee to develop the first comprehensive national plan for surviving a nuclear attack. His connection to Stanford began when he served as a founding member and chair of Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1953 and a university trustee from 1953 to 1971.

“The Stanton Foundation recognizes that there needs to be a center of excellence in nuclear security outside of the Washington-Boston corridor, and Stanford is that place,” Zegart said.

Read the full announcement on the FSI website.

—MAY WONG, for the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies