Stanford trustees hear annual report from president, honor a former chair, tour the new children’s hospital and approve building projects

At its Oct. 2-3 meeting, the Stanford University Board of Trustees heard a presentation from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, honored former chair Steven A. Denning, toured the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and approved building projects.

At its Oct. 2-3 meeting, the Stanford University Board of Trustees heard a presentation from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne on his busy first year in office, honored former chair Steven A. Denning, toured the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and approved various building projects wending their way through the approval process.

It was the first Board of Trustees meeting led by Jeffrey S. Raikes, who became chair in July after serving as a trustee since June 2012. In a recent Q&A with Stanford Report, Raikes talked about his management style, the philosophy, collegiality and dedication of trustees, his campus “listening tour” and how his experience as a Stanford undergraduate helped shape the trajectory of his life.

Report by President Tessier-Lavigne

Raikes said Tessier-Lavigne covered many topics in his annual report to trustees, including the university’s academic mission, Stanford’s place in the world, and some of the university’s key opportunities and challenges.

Several members of the Board of Trustees around a table.

Members of the Board of Trustees listen to a presentation from dean of undergraduate admissions, Rick Shaw at their Oct. 2-3 meeting. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

“One of the trustees mentioned that one of the things they most enjoyed about listening to Marc’s comments was his sense of optimism and his sense of energy around what this institution can grow to be in the future,” Raikes said.

“All of the trustees have been impressed with Marc’s level of engagement. He’s met with hundreds of students and faculty members and staff members in his first year, and he and [Provost Persis Drell] have struck a real tone of wanting to make sure they’re visible, they’re connected, they’re transparent and they’re engaged. When you go through the report that Marc shared with us, you come away with a very strong sense that Stanford is in a great, strong stable position during this presidential transition.”

Raikes said Tessier-Lavigne presented an update on the university’s long-range planning process, which the president and provost launched in April. Currently, more than 100 faculty, student and staff volunteers – who are members of Area Steering Groups – are sifting through and categorizing nearly 2,800 ideas and proposals.

“The Board of Trustees is a thought partner to the university, which leads the long-range planning process,” Raikes said. “We will use our April board retreat to really focus in on the long-range planning process. By then, Marc and the university leadership will have identified the key themes, big ideas and bold aspirations. That will be a great step forward in the long-range planning process.”

Raikes said trustees are also impressed by Tessier-Lavigne’s outreach to the administration and Congress to discuss the importance of maintaining their commitment to federal research funding. Tessier-Lavigne made four trips to Washington, D.C., this year.

Raikes said Stanford was very pleased when Congress increased funding for the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion in 2017, under a bipartisan spending deal announced in May.

“Not only was that reassuring for the leadership here, as well as trustees and faculty, but I also think it’s recognition at all levels, including the White House, that federally funded research is a very important part of what creates jobs and economic growth. I feel very good about how we’ve taken on that challenge of making sure that gets communicated, and Marc has been front and center on that.”

Raikes noted that Tessier-Lavigne and Drell have created a new mechanism for continuing their outreach to the Stanford community in the form of “Notes from the Quad,” a blog that will offer periodic thoughts on current issues at Stanford.

Trustees honor Steven A. Denning

Raikes said trustees celebrated the remarkable service of former chair Steve Denning at a dinner in which each of the speakers – former Stanford President John L. Hennessy, Tessier-Lavigne and Raikes – praised some of Denning’s greatest attributes.

Members of the board at a demonstration of an MRI machine

Members of the Board of Trustees tour the soon-to-open Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital during the board’s Oct. 2-3 meeting. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

“Steve was an absolutely outstanding chair – very strategic, very visionary,” Raikes said. “He was such a fabulous chair that we extended his term by an extra year, because we trusted his leadership to help make sure that Marc Tessier-Lavigne had a fabulous first year as our president. That was a great contribution by Steve.”

Denning, who joined the Board of Trustees in 2004, became chair in July 2012. He served as chair for five years, making him the longest serving board chair in modern history. The Board of Trustees asked Denning to extend his second two-year term one year so he could lead the transition to the new leadership team of Tessier-Lavigne, who took office Sept. 1, and Drell, who took office Feb. 1.

Raikes said the dinner was also an opportunity to honor the “significant philanthropy” that Denning and his wife, Roberta Bowman Denning, have provided to Stanford through their support of the Graduate School of Business, undergraduate programs, art and humanities programs, and international initiatives.

“Steve is a big believer that all Stanford students should have a global experience,” Raikes said. “That was part of the reason why he and Roberta stepped forward to create what will be the central hub for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars programDenning House.”

Trustees tour new hospital

The trustees toured the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, which is scheduled to open in December. Raikes described the hospital, which treats children with serious and life-threatening illnesses, as “technologically advanced, very family-friendly and environmentally sustainable.”

“It is an absolutely wonderful facility,” Raikes said. “My personal takeaway was just how much they had put into important touches for families – the fact there’s a couch in the room that can turn into a bed, giving the family the ability to be right there with their child. The children can look out on 3½ acres of landscape from their rooms, and when they get better they can go out into the gardens and green space, where there will be sculptures of animals. It’s a very healing place.”

Raikes noted that the new hospital adds more than 500,000 square feet of space and 149 patient beds, more than doubling the size of the existing hospital. The new facility, which was designed to leverage natural light and sunshine, uses less water and less thermal energy than the existing hospital.

Approvals of building projects

Trustees granted partial construction approval for Escondido Village Graduate Residences, one of the biggest construction project in Stanford’s history.

Jeff Raikes on scooter.

Board Chair Jeff Raikes enjoys riding his scooter around campus. (Image credit: Courtesy of Stanford News)

Raikes said the new complex will substantially address the shortage of on-campus housing for graduate students, by providing approximately 2,020 net new beds on campus. The buildings in the new complex will range from six stories to 10 stories in height. The complex will include two underground parking structures so that Stanford can meet another one of its goals – preserving open space on campus.

Raikes said the new complex was designed to create a sense of community for graduate students through its indoor and outdoor spaces, including an existing greenway that will become part of the new complex. He said feedback from graduate students was key in developing all elements of the project and trustees are very enthusiastic about the great work of Land, Buildings and Real Estate in designing the complex. Construction is expected to begin in November and to be completed by September 2020.

Trustees gave construction approval to the new, expanded childcare facility, the Children’s Center of the Stanford Community. The new center will replace the existing facility, as well as the Rainbow School and Peppertree After School Program with three new buildings. The new buildings will serve up to 230 preschool children, a 50 percent increase over current levels. Construction of the new buildings, which will be located along Escondido Road, has begun and is expected to be completed in fall 2018.

Trustees also gave final construction approval for an addition to Stanford Environmental Health & Safety, which assures lab safety and workplace safety, and conducts emergency planning for the entire university. The new, two-story building will be constructed next to the current facility along Oak Road, to support administration, collaboration and training. The new building will also provide space for an expanded Occupational Health Clinic. Construction is expected to start in November and to be completed in October 2018.

Finally, trustees gave construction approval for renovations to the historic Encina Hall complex, which includes Encina Hall – west, central and east wings – and Encina Commons. Some construction has begun and will be completed in fall 2018. Other construction will begin in 2019, after some units now located in Encina Hall move to Stanford Redwood City.

Under the renovation project, major portions of Encina Hall, located on Serra Street, and Encina Commons, located on Crothers Way, will be converted to academic use and will be reconfigured for interdisciplinary research and teaching. Plans also call for Stanford to renovate the courtyard between the two buildings.

The reconfigured space will create outdoor settings to draw in the rest of campus, facilitate interaction among the units of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the School of Humanities & Sciences, and create room for a new Policy Implementation Lab to help students and researchers put their ideas into practice.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is scheduled to open. It is scheduled to open in December 2017.