Archive for the ‘Best of’ Category

Stanford community comes out for Cardinal Walk 2014

May 10th, 2014

Members of the Stanford community brought their walking shoes and good cheer to the eighth annual Cardinal Walk. Walkers gathered at Stanford Stadium before embarking on the 1.5-mile trek around campus. The event, which took place Friday, May 9, was sponsored by BeWell at Stanford. University Photographer LINDA A. CICERO captured the spirit in pictures.

Stanford University recognized for contributions to U.S.-China relations

May 8th, 2014
Stanford University President John Hennessy (center) during the Committee of 100 gala in San Francisco

Stanford President John Hennessy, center, during the Committee of 100 gala in San Francisco in April. (Photo courtesy Committee of 100)

The Committee of 100, an international organization dedicated to making cultural connections between the United States and Asia, honored Stanford University with its Common Ground Award for the Advancement in U.S.-China Relation

During a recent gala in San Francisco, Stanford President JOHN HENNESSY accepted the award, which recognized Stanford’s contributions and commitment to fostering U.S.-China relations over time.

As President Hennessy noted, Stanford has engaged in scientific and academic exchanges with Chinese colleagues over many years. Recently, the Stanford Center at Peking University has played a role in forging these relations. Administered by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), the research and education center in Beijing has become the headquarters for Stanford students and faculty conducting research or organizing events in China.

The gala featured a video about the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project, as an example of how Stanford research is bridging a historical divide in Chinese and American relations.

Led by two Stanford professors, more than 100 scholars in North America and Asia are searching for information – seeking out descendents and traversing archives and museums – about the thousands of Chinese migrants who labored on the Transcontinental Railroad. The rail line helped shape the American West and culminated with Leland Stanford driving the Golden Spike at its completion on May 10, 1869.

“Chinese workers were here on [Leland Stanford's Palo Alto Stock] Farm and then the university as workers from the beginning,” says GORDON CHANG, the project’s co-director.

Recognition by an organization like the Committee of 100, Chang says, emphasizes the importance and timeliness of a project such as the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America. He believes the project “has hit a chord here and in China. Chinese workers labored to complete one of the iconic projects of America, yet we know so very little about them and they have never been given their due.”

The award also acknowledges that the United States and China have been intertwined for over 150 years, says English Professor SHELLEY FISHER FISHKIN, co-director on the project and director of the Program in American Studies. “Recognizing our shared past can be an important step in forging a positive future for U.S.-China relations.”

—VERONICA MARIAN, the Humanities at Stanford


14 football players hoping to be called during the NFL Draft

May 7th, 2014
Outside linebacker Trent Murphy is among the Cardinal football player who hopes to hear his name called during the NFL draft. (Photo: Don Feria/isiphotos)

Outside linebacker Trent Murphy is among the Cardinal football players who hope to hear their names called during the NFL Draft. (Photo: Don Feria/isiphotos)

Fourteen former Stanford football players will hope to hear their names called at the 2014 NFL Draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. All 14 draft-eligible players either have already graduated or are on pace to graduate from Stanford this spring. The draft will be televised live on ESPN and NFL Network.

DAVID SHAW, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, will serve as a guest analyst for the draft on NFL Network.

Updates throughout the draft will be available at Follow the conversation in real time on Twitter using the hashtag #StanfordNFL via @StanfordFBall and @GoStanford.

Fourteen Cardinal players have been selected over the past four years. Last year, ZACH ERTZ, STEPFAN TAYLOR and LEVINE TOILOLO were drafted.

Visit the Athletics website to read the full story about this year’s NFL Draft.

Stanford Engineering Professor Mehran Sahami lauded for leadership on undergraduate curriculum guidelines

May 5th, 2014


Mehran Sahami

Mehran Sahami  (Photo: Stanford Engineering)

MEHRAN SAHAMI, a professor of computer science has received the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Presidential award.

The ACM, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, recognized Sahami for leading the group that produced the Computer Science Curricula 2013 guidelines. These guidelines are sponsored by ACM and the IEEE-Computer Society approximately once per decade to provide curricular guidance for undergraduate programs in computer science in the US and internationally.

In a press release announcing the awards, ACM said it was honoring the achievements of Sahami and two others for helping build the infrastructure of computer science as a critical discipline in the digital era.

The release went so far as to say that this year’s honorees, “made possible the dramatic progress that has enabled computer science to contribute to science and society and change the course of history.”

Sahami, who also serves as the Computer Science Department’s associate chair for education, and fellow honorees will be recognized at the ACM Awards Banquet in June in San Francisco

— BY ANDREW MYERS, for the School of Engineering

Stanford Humanities Center names 2014-15 Fellows

May 5th, 2014
Stanford Humanities Center (Photo credit: Steve Castillo)

Stanford Humanities Center (Photo credit: Steve Castillo)

The Stanford Humanities Center announced recently the winners of its competition for full-year residency research fellowships for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Humanities Center has selected 26 scholars from Stanford and other U.S. and international institutions who were chosen from a pool of nearly 400 applicants. Each fellow will pursue individual research and writing projects at the center and will have the opportunity to share ideas and foster collaborations with the Stanford community through workshops and the rich array of sponsored activities of the center.

The 2014-15 fellows will focus on a range of research topics including science in the Hellenistic age, medieval politics, modern philosophy, anthropology and linguistics.

The eight internal faculty fellows represent Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences and School of Medicine, and the 10 external faculty fellows come from departments spanning the humanities.

The center also has awarded eight Geballe Dissertation Fellowships to outstanding current Stanford graduate students in the final stages of their dissertations who will spend their time at the center completing their dissertations.

CAROLINE WINTERER, professor of history and director of the Humanities Center, noted, “We’re delighted to be bringing a group of wonderful scholars to the Humanities Center who represent the whole array of humanistic approaches to the past and the present.”

In addition, a group of undergraduate seniors will be named Hume Honors Undergraduate Fellows in the fall and will have access to the center’s resources as they complete their honors theses.

In addition to the yearlong fellowships, the Humanities Center and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies will host four international visitors for four-week residencies. During their time at Stanford, these scholars will give lectures in conjunction with the departments and research centers that nominated them.

The full list of incoming fellows is posted on the Humanities Center website.


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

May 1st, 2014

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



Knight Journalism Fellows named

April 29th, 2014

James Bettinger

Twelve U.S. journalists and innovators have won John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Knight Fellowships program champions innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership in journalism, by helping fellows pursue their ideas – known in the program as “journalism challenges” – to improve the quality of news and information reaching the public. Fellows collaborate with each other, with Stanford faculty and students and with Silicon Valley engineers and entrepreneurs to advance their ideas.

“The selection of fellows from so many ‘legacy’ news organizations shows that innovation is highly valued in those organizations,” said Knight Fellowships Director  JAMES BETTINGER. “We’re pleased that we will be working with journalists who can have an immediate impact as well as being effective far into the future.”

The U.S. fellows join eight international fellows who were announced earlier this month. Fellows participate fully in the intellectual life of the university, through classes, lectures and symposiums, and individual research.

Stanford Cancer Center celebrates a decade as hub of treatment

April 28th, 2014

Photo by Robert Canfield

Cancer patients’ experience at Stanford was transformed with the opening of a state-of-the-art, 218,000-square-foot medical building in 2004.

For a decade, the ambulatory outpatient clinic has brought together all of Stanford Medicine’s cancer specialties under one roof. It has given physicians space to work and gather, and fostered a new level of collaboration. And it has done so in an environment designed to bring humanity to cancer care.

“Our goal is for Stanford to own the complexity of care coordination, and allow our cancer patients and their families to focus on the healing,” said AMIR DAN RUBIN, president and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics. “This beautiful building and our superb faculty and staff are instrumental in us attaining that goal.”

As the Stanford Cancer Center celebrates its 10th anniversary of serving patients, many of those involved in its planning, construction and operation reflected on the milestone.

“Stanford already had an incredible multidisciplinary approach to cancer,” recalled CHARLOTTE JACOBS, professor emerita of oncology, who led the effort from 1993 until 2001 to design and build the center. “But we needed a building to reflect the way we already practiced.”

Indeed, when Stanford broke ground on the building on Sept. 4, 2001, Jacobs spoke of the achievement as being much more than a building. “It is the vision of our faculty and staff cast in bricks and mortar,” she said. “It is an embodiment of our cancer faculty. It reflects their multidisciplinary approach to cancer, their zest for discovery, their superb clinical expertise and their dedication and concern for patients.”

Patients had long come to Stanford for its expertise in oncology. But until 10 years ago, it could be a challenging experience: Patients would have to navigate across campus and the hospital to receive care in multiple locations. Waiting rooms on the ground floor of the hospital were crowded, often standing-room only. There were long waits for exam rooms. The infusion room for bone marrow transplant patients resembled a walk-in closet. And there was no natural light in the radiation oncology area. “It was a warren of dark rooms that did not address the inner needs and struggles of cancer patients,” said PHILIP PIZZO,  professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, and former dean of the medical school.

BEVERLY MITCHELL, director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, recognizes the foresight and vision of those who came before her. “There was the recognition that cancer patients deserved a special environment, and that Stanford needed to deliver on that,” said Mitchell, professor of oncology and of hematology, who came to Stanford in 2005. “It has really improved the atmosphere for cancer patients to have this light-filled building, with music in the lobby and dedicated clinic space. It has made a huge difference for our patients.”

 — BY GRACE HAMMERSTROM, Stanford Hospital & Clinics

Read the full story on the Medical School’s website:


Stanford Medical School event showcases artistic expression

April 25th, 2014
Stanford medical students perform a dance during the Medicine and the Muse event earlier this month, (Photos by Norbert von der Groeben)

Stanford medical students perform a dance during the Medicine and the Muse event earlier this month. (Photo: Norbert von der Groeben)

When best-selling author KHALED HOSSEINI took the stage at Stanford’s recent Medicine and the Muse symposium, he smiled, shook his head and said, “Those student performances were amazing. I am not sure how I can follow that.” The performances Hosseini referred to were those of numerous medical students and included a soulful dance set to the song “Say Something” by Great Big World, an emotional spoken word poem, a performance of Chopin, a documentary film clip, an opera singer, and a playful dueling instrumental performance featuring an Indian drum and violin.

In addition to these performances, art and photography created by medical students was on exhibit in the lobby of the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge. One art piece was a tree adorned with thank-you notes written to patients by several fourth-year students. One note read:

It’s unfair that all I can say is “Thank you”
Because I learned and benefited from…
your pain
your illness
your despair
your secrets
your body and mind and spirit
I am honored to have had a chance to care for you, learn from you, and witness your resilience.

Author Khaled Hosseini is interviewed by Paul Costello, chief communications officer for the Stanford School of Medicine. (Photo by Norbert von der Groeben)

Author Khaled Hosseini is interviewed by Paul Costello, chief communications officer for Stanford School of Medicine. (Photo: Norbert von der Groeben)

Hosseini himself had a chance to see one of his former patients, who came to the event and brought his medical record for Hosseini to sign. “I guess I did all right for you,” Hosseini laughed. “You are here.”

Before the book-signing, the overflow crowd was silent and attentive as Hosseini answered questions about his writing and Afghanistan posed by PAUL COSTELLO, chief communications officer for the School of Medicine. Hosseini shared that as a 15-year-old coming to America from Afghanistan, he struggled. “To be a 15-year old in an American high school, not knowing how to speak English, that was tough. I was invisible.” When Costello asked Hosseini about his hope for Afghanistan, particularly after the April 5 elections, he said, “I hope there is a new future for Afghanistan. A future of peace, not war. Did you know that 64 percent of the Afghan population is under the age of 24? And their heroes are people like Steve Jobs. … There is so much more to the country of Afghanistan than what is portrayed on television.”

Several students and spouses in attendance were also veterans of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. SHANNON BARG, who served in the U.S. Army as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and is participating in a writing workshop for student veterans sponsored by the Arts, Humanities and Medicine program, brought the copy of The Kite Runner she had read “over and over” in Afghanistan for Hosseini to sign. “That book was so important to me over there,” she said. “I can’t believe I had this chance to meet him.”

Hosseini also shared his writing routine. “I write every day. Writing is very blue collar. You have to show up every day, and you have to put the work in.”

When asked about his days as a physician, Hosseini joked that his patients would spend more time talking to him about his books than about their ailments. “So I had to step down, for the sake of their health.” Although he derived satisfaction from helping patients as a medical doctor, Hosseini believes he can perhaps have a further reach with the humanitarian work his writing allows him to pursue. He has established the Khaled Hosseini Foundation to bring humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, by building shelters for refugee families and providing economic opportunities, education and health care for women and children of Afghanistan, and he recently wrote about his work with Syrian refuges in a New York Times op-ed.

“We are all part of humanity,  and we should try to help one another.”

 JACQUELINE GENOVESE, assistant director of the Arts, Humanities and Medicine Program
This item is reprinted from the Medical School’s SCOPE blog.


Wanda Corn named College Art Association’s 2014 Distinguished Scholar

April 25th, 2014


Wanda Corn

Wanda Corn

WANDA CORN, professor emerita in the Department of Art and Art History, is the recipient of the College Art Association’s 2014 Distinguished Scholar award.

Given annually since 2001, the award recognizes art historians who are considered to be “illustrious writers, teachers and curators.”

Corn, a renowned museum curator and author, was a professor of American art at Stanford for 28 years, where her scholarship focused on late 19th- and early 20th-century American art and photography.

The author of six books, the most recent being Women Building History: Public Art at the 1893 Columbian Exposition (2011), Corn has produced art exhibitions for museums around the country.

Corn played an instrumental part in making the study of 19th- and early-20th-century American art possible on the West Coast when her curatorial work and advocacy helped bring a collection of American art owned by Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Founded in 1911, the College Art Association (CAA) is the national professional association for artists and art historians. The CAA honored Corn’s curatorial work and academic scholarship during a special event at its annual conference in Chicago earlier this year.

In the panel discussion of Corn’s peers, including four of her former Stanford students, speakers shared their experiences collaborating with and learning from her.

“It was a great honor to have an entire session dedicated to my scholarship and to hear how younger scholars connected the dots in my life’s work,” said Corn, the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History, Emerita.

Among the panelists was TIRZA LATIMER, PhD ’03. Latimer noted how this award “caps a series of professional affirmations” that Corn has previously received, including the CAA Distinguished Teaching Award and the CAA Women’s Caucus Lifetime Achievement Award.

“No historian of American art is more deserving of the triple crown,” said Latimer, who is currently associate professor of visual and critical studies at the California College of the Arts.

Also on the panel was RICHARD MEYER, the Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford. Meyer lauded Corn as a “foundational figure in the development of American art as a field of scholarly study.”

He noted the way in which Corn, whose scholarship centers on trans-Atlantic modernism in the early 20th century and American regionalist painting of the 1930s, “considers a wider range of visual objects and historical conditions than seemed possible prior to her doing so.”

“The field of American art history would not be nearly as expansive, exciting or self-aware as it is without Wanda Corn’s work and inspiring example,” he added.

During her time at Stanford, Corn held the university’s first permanent appointment in the history of American art and served as chair of the Department of Art and Art History from 1989 to 1991 and 1999 to 2000. She was acting director of the Stanford Museum from 1989 to 1991, and from 1992 to 1995 she was the Anthony P. Meier Family Professor and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center.

Corn has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Smithsonian Regents, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study and the Clark Institute of Art.

In recognition of her passion for teaching the next generation of art historians, Corn also has received many teaching awards. Among these are the Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award from the College Art Association (2007); the Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Teaching Award (2002); and the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History (2006).

—VERONICA MARIAN, the Humanities at Stanford