Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne meeting alumni across the nation

The Stanford Alumni Association estimates that President Marc Tessier-Lavigne will address more than 5,400 alumni, parents and friends during the first phase of his two-year welcome tour, which ends June 1 at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

In addition to his responsibilities on the Farm, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne has traveled across the country in recent months to introduce himself to alumni who have gathered in concert halls, cultural centers, hotels and museums to hear from their alma mater’s 11th president.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne and his wife, Mary Hynes

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and his wife, Mary Hynes, associate professor (research) of biology at Stanford, chat with alumni at the Newseum in Washington, D.C . (Image credit: Cindy Pearson)

The first event took place in January, just three months after Tessier-Lavigne’s inauguration in Frost Amphitheater, where he said it was Stanford’s responsibility to deploy its tremendous strengths and vast intellectual capacity for the benefit of humanity.

“Let us be inspired by the issues of our time,” he said at the Oct. 20 inauguration and investiture. “Let us commit to being a purposeful university, a courageous university, a university of unlimited potential. Let us be fearless.”

It is a message Tessier-Lavigne is sharing with alumni during the welcome tour, where he also is providing updates on happenings on campus and describing the long-range planning process that the university recently kicked off to chart its course for the years ahead.

Tessier-Lavigne said he has been energized and inspired by the opportunity to engage with Stanford alums from a wide variety of backgrounds and age groups.

“Alumni, parents and friends are an incredibly important part of the Stanford family,” he said. “The people I’ve met are deeply devoted to Stanford, take a huge interest in what is happening on campus today, and ask the most insightful questions. It has been a great introduction to a truly impressive community.”

Alumni mingle at Newseum

Alumni mingle during a reception for “An Evening with Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne,” held recently in the Newseum in Washington, D.C. (Image credit: Cindy Pearson)

So far, he has visited six cities for the welcome tour, dubbed “An Evening with Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne,” which was organized by the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA). In each city – San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C. – his appearance has attracted capacity crowds of alumni, parents and friends. He will speak to alumni today in Chicago.

Each program includes remarks from Tessier-Lavigne and a conversation between the president and Howard Wolf, president of the SAA and vice president for alumni affairs, addressing questions submitted by alumni. Tessier-Lavigne and his wife, Mary Hynes, associate professor (research) of biology at Stanford, also mingle with guests during a reception, giving them another opportunity to hear about issues on the minds of those in the Stanford family.

“These welcome events have not only been a wonderful way for alumni to meet and get to know President Tessier-Lavigne, they have also provided him a chance to understand and experience the power and commitment of Stanford’s alumni body,” Wolf said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the events to date and look forward to many more to come.”

The most recent alumni event was held April 25 at the Newseum, a Washington, D.C. museum that promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

Carolyn Manning, SAA’s vice president for alumni relations, said the Newseum helped SAA staff make the evening special for guests.

“The Newseum presents the front pages of newspapers from each of the 50 states on the front of their building, and while they don’t normally display college newspapers, that day they showcased the Stanford Daily as California’s front page,” she said.

“We were also able to change the ‘news’ on the tickertape news feed and substitute lots of fun Stanford history facts. There was also an enormous screen in the lobby where our reception was held and we ran a loop of aerial footage of the Stanford campus. Alumni really enjoyed seeing the campus and all of the buildings, new and old.”

Tessier-Lavigne will address alumni on May 31 in Boston. He will finish the tour with a June 1 appearance at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The SAA estimates that the first phase of the welcome tour will attract more than 5,400 people by the time it concludes.

During the 2017-18 academic year, the second phase of Tessier-Lavigne’s welcome tour will commence and he is scheduled to visit alumni in nine more cities.