Stanford Board of Trustees elects Sakurako D. Fisher to a five-year term

Sakurako D. Fisher holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford. A devotee of the arts, she is president of the San Francisco Symphony and chair of the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution. She also is a trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Sakurako D. Fisher

Sakurako D. Fisher, president of the San Francisco Symphony, will join the Stanford University Board of Trustees on Oct. 1 (Image credit: Erica Garlieb)

Sakurako D. Fisher, president of the San Francisco Symphony and a longtime supporter of Stanford University, has been elected to the university’s Board of Trustees. She will begin a five-year term Oct. 1.  

Fisher, who is known to friends as “Sako,” has had a longstanding commitment to arts and cultural institutions. In addition to serving as president of the San Francisco Symphony since 2012, Fisher has been a member of the organization’s board of governors since 1992.  She also is chair of the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution and serves as co-chair for the Smithsonian Campaign.  She is a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a co-founder of O2 Initiatives, an organization that supports sabbaticals for executive directors of nonprofit organizations.  In addition, she is a member of the U.S. advisory board for the Union Centrale des Arts et Decoratifs. 

A Stanford alumna who holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations, Fisher has a demonstrated commitment to fostering the university’s global studies efforts.

“I am delighted to welcome Sako Fisher to the Stanford board,” said Steven A. Denning, chairman of the Stanford Board of Trustees. “She brings to the board an impressive diversity of interests and familiarity with some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the San Francisco Symphony.”

Fisher is former chair of the board of ODC/Dance, former vice chair of the board of the Exploratorium, and a former trustee of the Thacher School in Ojai, Calif. She also has served on the boards of Stern Grove, the Asian Art Museum Foundation, the American Hospital of Paris, the American Hospital of Paris Foundation, and Alliance Francaise.  Previously, she worked for Cargill and Citibank.

Fisher was born in Japan and grew up in Portland, Ore.  She earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford in 1983. (Her class year was 1982.)

At Stanford, Fisher has served as a member of the Humanities & Sciences Council, the advisory board of Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Task Force for Undergraduate Education.  She also has been an active reunion volunteer, including serving as co-chair in 2012 and 2007.  In addition, she was a member of the Campaign for Undergraduate Education Major Gifts Committee, as well as a volunteer for The Stanford Challenge and Leading Matters.

Fisher and her husband, Bill Fisher (MBA ’84), have established The Sakurako and William Fisher Family Directorship of the Stanford Global Studies Division and have endowed a faculty scholar and a graduate fellow.  In addition, they have been strong supporters of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at FSI, underwriting the honors thesis program.

The Fishers live in San Francisco and have three children.

Media Contacts

Brad Hayward, University Communications: (650) 724-0199,