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Stanford Report, March 8, 2000

Transitions and Endurances

State of the University Address, March 2, 2000
Gerhard Casper, President, Stanford University

The title of my talk this afternoon is "How I came to Stanford and–yard by yard–took us to the Rose Bowl"–not to mention how I got us into women’s and men’s final fours–basket by basket. No, that’s not right. Forgive me, Coaches!

My real title is "Transitions and Endurances." According to a persuasive definition by, I think, George Stigler, a transition period is a period between two transition periods. I should like to address some aspects of our transition from 1992 to the present. I shall also concern myself with some of what, I believe, needs to endure.

In 1997, I published a small book called Cares of the University. In it, I reminisced about how uncomfortable it made me, back in 1992, when I was asked about my "plan," my "agenda" for Stanford. I did not know the university well and I was much too uncertain about challenges, conditions, and, especially, answers. I also thought that for somebody coming from the outside, it would have been presumptuous to lay out a plan.

In some sense, I had tried to answer the question in my inaugural address–a speech that I had prepared with much attention to its every word. I spelled out what I thought the commitments of a university were, the principles that would guide me. Today, I want to return to that inaugural address, reiterate some of its themes and suggest how, in my view, they relate to the last eight years and to the future.


I

The first, and in many ways the most important, point I made was the salutation with which I opened my speech on October 2, 1992. I had requested there be no convocation for new students that fall and that, instead, they all be invited to the inaugural festivities. I then greeted the new students as "Fellow members of the first-year class and fellow transfer students." While the line was obviously meant to get the attention of the class of 1996, it was also intended to convey the inclusiveness of the university’s search to know. Later in the speech, I quoted Paul Freund, a former member of the Harvard law school faculty, to the effect that education "is a two-way process–the rubbing of mind against mind for the benefit of not only the student but the teacher."

Some of you may recall that much of the inaugural address was in the form of reflections on Stanford’s motto. I made reference to its author, the humanist Ulrich von Hutten, whose enthusiasm for the Renaissance world of scholarly endeavors was captured in what he wrote to a friend in 1518: "It is a pleasure to live. . . . Studies blossom and the minds move." I said to the students that their education was primarily about "studies blossoming" and "minds moving," that teaching, learning, and research were all equally important elements of the all-embracing search to know and that they, the students, were part of it. You have heard me repeat this, mantra-like, over and over again.

Within a year, I appointed the Commission on Undergraduate Education, and under the leadership of Jim Sheehan, the commission undertook the first comprehensive review of Stanford’s undergraduate curriculum in 25 years. Most of its recommendations were subsequently implemented. Building on those reforms, I proposed Stanford Introductory Studies in my speech on "The Synthesis of Teachers and Students" to the Senate of the Academic Council in May of 1996. Within two years, we were able to offer faculty-taught seminars and other forms of small group interactions with faculty to every freshman and every sophomore. The speed with which we accomplished this contradicts most everything you have ever read about universities in the popular press.

Four years ago, I also expressed my confidence that we will obtain permanent endowment for the support of Stanford Introductory Studies. The acronym for the Commission on Undergraduate Education was CUE. This same acronym has now come to stand for the Campaign for Undergraduate Education, which at present is in a planning and "silent" phase. I very much hope that before my successor takes over and before we go public, this new CUE will be well under way: building on the initial financial support for Stanford Introductory Studies from trustee Peter Bing.

Few goals are more important for the future of Stanford than the "Humboldtian" vision that our reforms and emphasis express. Not only do students profit when taught by scholars who themselves are engaged in creative endeavors; rather, scholarship itself is enriched when the younger generation consciously, if naively, questions it.

I also believe it crucial that we further increase our attractiveness as a space for people to interact personally and face-to-face in learning and research. This task has a special urgency as information technology challenges us to rethink the necessity and function of the university. The university will remain attractive as a physical space to the extent that the quality of what we do exceeds what technology will make possible.

Much of what I said in my inaugural address about undergraduates also applies to the relationship between the university and its graduate students. The absence of a "college" at Stanford permits us to see easily a continuum that ranges from the freshman to the Ph.D. candidate. In the 1996 address, in addition to Stanford Introductory Studies, I also proposed Stanford Graduate Fellowships to attract, on a competitive basis, the best graduate students possible. These fellowships provide those students with freedom to pursue their work at Stanford without worrying about the vagaries of sponsored research or other traditional sources of support. I wanted at least some students in the government-dependent fields of inquiry to be free to follow their own interests without being constrained by available funding. In a first phase, we allocated 10 million dollars for the support of students in those areas of the university where the reliance on government was the most pronounced. We also set a fundraising goal of $200 million in endowment and I am confident that we will reach that level when we close this effort next month. While this is good news, I am painfully aware that "only" about one hundred new graduate students benefit from the three-year Stanford Graduate Fellowships each year and that even with respect to them the housing market may be taking its toll.

In 1986, David Packard chaired a White House Panel on the health of U.S. universities. The panel emphasized that from the outset of graduate education in the United States an intimate connection between education and research has been considered fundamental to the production of creative scientists and engineers. The same connection is a sine qua non for social sciences and humanities disciplines. A graduate student’s learning, a graduate student’s teaching, a graduate student’s research or participation in research are all part of the search for knowledge. The ultimate end is the promotion of the public welfare. As Jane Stanford reiterated in her last major address to the Board of Trustees in 1902: "[I]t was the paramount purpose of the Founders . . . to promote the public welfare by founding, endowing, and having maintained a University with the colleges, schools, seminaries of learning, mechanical institutes, museums, galleries of art, and all other things necessary and appropriate to a University of high degree."


II

It is not a little ironic that the spectacular success of the founding and maintaining of Stanford and the growth in the public welfare to which it has so effectively contributed, has now become one of the greatest challenges to our recruitment of the most talented graduate students, faculty, and staff. That dynamic illustrates, to quote former president Richard Lyman, the "underlying fragility of this seemingly powerful institution." What the people of California once welcomed as furthering a specific public interest, is now endangered by real estate markets and those who want to appropriate the benefaction of the university’s founders for other purposes or even themselves. Never mind that Stanford has been a more responsible steward of its lands than virtually anybody else on the Peninsula and that Stanford has grown at a considerably slower pace than the rest of the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo has.

When I arrived in 1992, California was in a recession and temporarily much worried about its competitive position. I could not possibly have predicted that, after 1994, we would spend much of my presidency fighting for the very right to build faculty and staff housing in Stanford West, to build graduate student housing, to build an ambulatory cancer center, to preserve the academic reserve as such, in short, to keep the Founders’ "paramount purpose" alive. Nor could I have imagined that I would fail to communicate the enormity and urgency of the housing shortage to some of our own faculty. I have been saddened by the deep hostility on the part of some current campus homeowners to the notion of accommodating even a modest number of present and future colleagues on university lands in existing campus neighborhoods. I hope my successor will gain more sympathy for the needs of our colleagues.

While some of our housing plans, especially those for graduate student residences, are now more popular than they were a few years ago, at present, some seem to consider our academic needs of lesser importance. Why do we need housing for faculty and students? Because the vitality of the university and, for that matter, the state, depends on the quality of faculty and students that we recruit. They need to be housed but they also need the research and teaching facilities that will keep the university at the frontier. Standing still is falling back. This is not the same as saying there should be unlimited growth of the university. The university must carefully husband all its resources and it must continue to make choices among programmatic activities. The lesson of the last decade is that resource constraints are real and they are here to assert and reassert themselves.

While I did not have enough imagination to speak about the local housing market and local politics in my inaugural address, I concluded with a theme that has remained a constant over the last eight years. Permit me to quote at some length:

In our pursuit of excellences at Stanford, let us not forget that Stanford, with the rest of the great American research and teaching universities, will become forgettable . . . unless the United States and we remain committed to the support of original investigation of the first rank and the investments in education and training that go with it. Apart from gathering the best minds and providing them with resources, hard work and a substantial measure of freedom in the setting of research priorities have always been among the conditions that make highest quality research possible. Good institutions and good work need a lot of breathing space. I worry that as we attend to the shortcomings of universities, we as a country are losing sight of the conditions that create good work and good institutions. . . . The research enterprise can easily be smothered by internal and external politics, pressures and red tape. The wind of freedom has been a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for making our great universities the envy of the world.

Maintaining the pattern of attitudes and activities that make the university more than an epiphenomenon, is a great challenge, indeed. The emphasis that my inaugural address placed on Stanford’s motto was in part due to my concern that both within the university and outside there are too many who take the university for granted or believe it should be leveraged for the pursuit of various causes, some virtuous, and some not so virtuous. What tends to be mostly overlooked is that even virtuous causes impose costs. To quote Edward Shils: "Above all civil politics require an understanding of the complexity of virtue, that no virtue stands alone, that every virtuous act costs something in terms of other virtuous acts, that virtues are intertwined with evils, and that no theoretical system of hierarchy of virtues is ever realizable in practice."

I was concerned back in 1992, and I am as concerned today, that America’s penchant for regulating all aspects of life pays scant attention to the costs virtuous policies impose on universities. It might be assumed that universities can absorb increasing regulation and remain unaffected in their quality, their vitality, and their ability to contribute to society as they so magnificently have done. If one message was important to me in 1992, and if today I had only one message to leave with you, it would be that you not permit that profound error to gain currency. Universities are not sufficiently robust to withstand the unreflected onslaught of regulation, be it local, state, or federal. Most other countries in the world where universities are creatures of government provide ample illustrations for this proposition. As I said, good academic institutions and good work need a lot of breathing space.

I do not want to be misunderstood: My point is not that universities should be a law unto themselves. Rather, any assessment of what, in the public interest, should be done with respect to universities needs to take into consideration that universities themselves, to quote Justice Frankfurter, are serving "the interest of wise government and the people’s well being," they are a public service operating under very special conditions.

You know that I easily get enamored of mixed metaphors. Among my favorites are "We must not drop anchor until we are out of the woods" and "The future is an uncharted sea full of potholes." Their dual metaphorical punch gives both of them great rhetorical power. The other day, I came across one with a triple punch that is highly appropriate for my theme of not taking universities for granted: "If we don’t stop shearing the sheep that lay the golden egg, we are going to pump it dry"!


III

"The true university, however old, must draw together and reinvent itself every day. To put it differently and to exaggerate only slightly, even after 100 years–or, for that matter, 500 years–the days of the university are always first days." These two sentences are a quote from my inaugural address and you have heard me repeat the leitmotiv ad infinitum and, perhaps, ad nauseam. I have no doubt that Stanford will remain committed to a continuous reconsideration of its teaching, its scholarship, its research, its institutional practices. I have certainly found it to be that way in the eight years of my presidency.

As concerns institutional practices, I should like to single out three different matters today. The first is affirmative action, the second internal decision-making, and the third the impact of information technology on the future of universities.

As you may recall, in 1995 I issued a statement in support of affirmative action at Stanford. Affirmative action involves some of the most difficult and complex issues in our society. Reasonable people differ on what it means, has meant, or ought to mean. I said then, and repeat now, that it is of the greatest importance that all those who participate in the debate refrain from demonizing their opponents.

Affirmative action, as I said in 1995, does not require, and does not mean, quotas or anything resembling them. Neither under law nor our own aspirations is there room for quotas, for categorical preferences, or for appointing anybody other than the fully qualified. Indeed, categorical preferment, according to an increasing number of federal court decisions, violates anti-discrimination laws.

Affirmative action is based on the judgment that a policy of true equal opportunity needs to create opportunities for members of historically underrepresented groups to be drawn into various walks of life from which they might otherwise be shut out. Barriers continue to exist in society and, therefore, affirmative action asks us to cast our net more widely to broaden the competition and to engage in more active efforts for locating and recruiting applicants.

When it comes to students, Stanford can be proud of its student enrollment from a–demographically speaking–great variety of backgrounds. We are leaders, not followers. Even as to the still too small number of minority Ph.Ds in mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering we are fifth in the nation and only one other private university, MIT, also ranks in the top five. This very year, we have been recognized by an award for our contribution.

Progress on the faculty side with respect to both minorities and women, has been steady but slow. There are many factors at work, not the least of which is the low turnover rate in faculty billets and the very small growth in the professoriate. Some of these factors, such as the federally mandated abolition of mandatory retirement, are not under our control. Nor do we control the needs of often small departments in particular fields of inquiry. However, the provost’s office, through the Faculty Incentive Fund, has made it possible for departments to pursue an outstanding woman or minority candidate who has been identified through the search process but who does not happen to meet the particular requirements of a given sub-field. Throughout her six years as our provost, Professor Rice consistently advocated that departments make use of this fund, which they have, to the benefit of the university.

During my presidency and the service of provosts Lieberman, Rice, and Hennessy, we have left no doubt about the need to attract and be welcoming to women and minorities. In response to the Committee on the Status of Women that issued its report in 1993, Provost Rice reorganized the Provost’s Office to provide for better oversight and attention to these matters. To the extent to which I personally make appointments to leadership positions, I have certainly cast my net in atypical ways and, I believe, this has benefited the overall quality of the university’s leadership team. There has been no glass-ceiling.

In short, we should not lose sight of the progress we have made: Over the past 10 years, the university has doubled both the number of minorities and the number of women on our faculty. Recent studies show that women faculty at Stanford receive tenure at the same rate as men and are paid equivalent salaries. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that we need to be ever vigilant and attentive.

Maintaining and furthering one of the best universities in the world is an incredibly delicate task. I cannot be sure about all the answers to questions involving affirmative action. All of us, on all sides of the issue, are and will be open to criticism. The request I have to make of those who would be critical is that they also make the effort to understand the great complexity of the issues.

I turn to other aspects of our academic decision-making. We have done as much as possible to maintain the university as a place of professionalism and civility. In general, former Provost Rice and I worked hard to make the university’s administration leaner, less bureaucratic, more responsive. To some extent, we succeeded, though not nearly enough.

I remain especially concerned about the workings of the appointments process in some areas of the university. We can have as many as eight layers of consideration and review of a new appointment or a promotion decision (not even counting appeals). Sometimes I wonder that we manage to make any faculty appointments at all. As the market, and it is not just the housing market, makes our competitive situation worse, we should at least be nimble and creative in the pursuit of faculty. I strongly believe that we can be that without any sacrifice in quality.

Demonstrating how much we want somebody, and being nimble, will not solve Stanford’s housing problem, but it is all around a highly desirable approach to appointment matters. Let us never take for granted that somebody wants to come to Stanford, or needs to stay at Stanford. Let us make sure that we are intellectually and otherwise as supportive as possible of new and continuing faculty: women, men, minorities, young faculty, newly tenured faculty, more senior faculty. And when I say "supportive" I mean listening, giving critical feedback, not being indifferent.

The most important administrative unit in the university is not the large school, is not the Office of President and Provost, it is the department or its equivalent. And, I believe, that one of the most important leadership positions is the departmental chair. Departments need to make sure that they are welcoming, uninhibited, robust, stimulating, interactive, and interdisciplinary intellectual communities. In the last few years, the university has taken steps to give greater recognition to the crucial role of department chairs, but, in some areas, we have a long way to go. We must always remind ourselves that universities are unique organizations in our society. They are basically run from the "bottom up," rather than from the "top down." The power to initiate is primarily in the hands of the faculty and exercised most frequently at the level of the department. The deans, provost and president have responsibility for quality control, but otherwise are primarily facilitators.

I take up a third matter involving the need for continuous reconsideration of our practices. One of the most perplexing questions concerning the coming "first days" is what impact information technology will and should have on our institutional existence. As early as seven years ago, Forbes opined, in the present tense: "Colleges and universities as we know them are obsolete" [my emphasis].

Before we agree, it makes sense to differentiate among the various roles universities play. One can distinguish at least nine tasks that universities perform. (1) Knowledge assessment and creation; (2) assessing and reviewing those who have the capacity to become and be scholars; (3) education and professional training; (4) knowledge transfer; (5) credentialing; (6) social integration; (7) the collegiate rite of passage to adulthood; (8) providing a place for "networking"; and (9) fostering a worldwide community of scholars.

When you look at the university this way, it is hard to believe that all of these functions can and will migrate to cyberspace. Some, however, or portions of some, have already done so or will do so in the future. There will also be some substitution of distance learning for in-residence education. We should not only be prepared for this, but we should assume that Stanford itself will be a player in cyberspace. This is why, in 1994, I asked Professor John Etchemendy to head a Commission on Technology in Teaching and Learning whose main result has been the Stanford Learning Lab. To get Stanford’s response right, more of us will have to pay much attention over the next few years. There are great opportunities for technology supported improvements in teaching and learning, including on our own campus and in cooperation with others. We need to experiment.

In that spirit, we have been meeting with representatives of Princeton and Yale to discuss the growing interest in distance learning and Web-based educational programs in the arts and sciences. Our initial discussions have focused on continuing education for our alumni. The discussions have included consideration of some form of joint effort among our institutions. We will, of course, consult widely with faculty members before undertaking such collaborative projects. But we must not be complacent and we must seize opportunities that are consistent with Stanford’s educational and research priorities.

I am concerned about complacency, but I am also concerned about more far-reaching implications of the revolution. It is possible that commercial providers of on-line educational services will skim off what for them is profitable and will leave the universities with everything that is expensive in education and research. Since, as I never tire of saying, research and teaching have a dialectical relationship, it would be tragic for both if the two core aspects of the university became more separated. Therefore, we need to be articulate about that relationship, in particular at our leading research intensive universities.

Unless universities make the case for their work in its entirety and pursue it rigorously and efficiently, the world may develop new approaches that it will consider adequate substitutes, even though we may not think of them as, and they may in fact not be, adequate.

In his book The New New Thing Michael Lewis writes that "the business of creating and foisting new technology upon others that goes on in Silicon Valley is near the core of the American experience. . . . The United States obviously occupies a strange place in the world. It is the capital of innovation, of material prosperity, of a certain kind of energy, of certain kinds of freedom, and of transience. Silicon Valley is to the United States what the United States is to the rest of the world."

It is tempting to add that if Silicon Valley is to the United States what the United States is to the rest of the world, then Stanford is to Silicon Valley what Silicon Valley is to the United States. It is, as I said, tempting, but the temptation should be resisted. To say so would be a facile elaboration but wrong. While Silicon Valley may be Stanford’s offspring, and therefore it stands to reason that the two share some characteristics, the university is not a "capital of transience." Quite to the contrary, it is our responsibility to be concerned with fundamentals, including traditions and basic aspects of the human condition. It is our responsibility to take the long view of everything. Yes, we are a source of innovation; yes, we ourselves are open to change. Our commitment, however, is to the search to know, to the pursuit of truth, even though we realize, with Robert Musil, that the "truth is not a crystal that can be slipped into one’s pocket, but an endless current into which one falls headlong." As "the new new thing" dominates the academy’s environment, the academy must not forget that the search to know is also necessarily concerned with the human condition since time immemorial.


IV

There were five reasons why I chose Die Luft der Freiheit weht, Stanford’s motto, as the centerpiece of my inaugural address. First, it made it possible for me to explain why a person with my background and accent had been appointed as Stanford’s ninth president: After eight presidents doing a poor job of pronouncing Stanford’s motto, the Board of Trustees wanted finally somebody who could cope with it. Second, it made it possible for me to explain, in a nutshell, something about David Starr Jordan, our founding president, and the intellectual origins of our university. Third, it made it possible for me to stress freedom of inquiry. Fourth, it made it possible for me to remind us that Stanford’s history as an institution is an inspiring denominator that provides a common identity for those who graduated many decades ago, those who have been members of the faculty or staff for a long period of time and those who, like the freshmen and I, were newcomers. Fifth, it made it possible for me to tell a story about our motto’s author that connects the university to humanism and the Renaissance. A few months later, in a Founders’ Day talk at Memorial Church, I made the Hutten story a more complex one. In short, my inaugural address, through subject matter and style, gave emphasis to the humanities.

Why? Certainly not because I wanted to distance myself from the sciences. I am married to a medical scientist and, in my provostial years at the University of Chicago, I had very much gotten caught up in the scientific enterprise. However, as we at Stanford pursue new knowledge, as we are entrepreneurial, we must also assure that our world does not get flatter and paler, that the layered quality of life remains part of our life.

I quote from a just published book of our colleague Karol Berger, of the music faculty: "We need images and representations, we need above all stories to give ourselves an identity and to give our existence a depth of significance. Without representations of history and art with which to compare our own experiences, our world would be appallingly flat, one-dimensional, and impoverished, the world deserving Henry James’s bleak characterization . . .: ‘what you see is not only what you get, it is all there is.’"

The Presidential Lectures and Symposia in the Arts and Humanities, directed with broadmindedness and great enthusiasm by Professor Gumbrecht, meant to make the university’s commitment to the arts and humanities more visible, to bring together faculty and students from all parts of the institution, and to change the perception of the role of the arts and humanities at Stanford. These tasks obviously have not been completed and I have therefore made a new grant, this time to the Stanford Humanities Center, for three more years of presidential lectures and symposia.

In addition, supported in part by the Mellon Foundation, I shall provide endowment funds to create fifth year dissertation fellowships in the humanities so that by the academic year 2002-03 we will have added 20 such fellowships. Finally, to ensure a critical mass in those departments hardest hit by the small number of full fellowships currently available, the Provost and I will offer a modest number of tuition-only fellowships in the humanities and social sciences. Departments would be expected to fund the stipend going to a student’s living expenses through gifts or other local resources. These fellowships will be available to students who are presently being recruited for the coming academic year.

One important way to increase the visibility of the arts in particular has been architecture. At the dedication of the Cantor Center for Visual Arts a year ago, I said: "The world often forgets that the visual art that we are most exposed to on a daily basis is architecture. It has the wonderful, but also frequently distressing quality of being inescapable." This is why competitive architectural design is so important in the exercise of good stewardship at our university–maintaining the physical endowment that has been handed down to us and, then, renewing it as needed to meet the changing nature of teaching, learning, and research, but also aesthetics. While the Latin proverb says there is no disputing about taste, the Latin proverb is wrong. Aesthetics are an appropriate subject for debate, especially on campuses. It would be sad indeed if the university stopped striving for beauty (and the dignity that our founders hoped for) in a contemporary vocabulary.


V

At the press conference at which my decision to step down was made public I was asked about my greatest satisfactions and dissatisfactions as president. On the positive side I responded with something like the following list, distinguishing between "first order" satisfactions and "second order" ones. I stressed how much pleasure Stanford’s overall vitality and good spirits gave me. I then turned to the university’s clear focus on teaching, learning, and research for both undergraduate students and graduate students; to Stanford Introductory Studies; to Stanford Graduate Fellowships; to the appearance and restoration of the campus; and the participation rate in the Senior Class Gift that rose from 8% in 1993 to 76% in 1999. As second order satisfactions I spoke about the integration of the Stanford Alumni Association into the university and the fact that with the Sand Hill Road agreements between Stanford and the City of Palo Alto and the subsequent 1997 referendum, we were able to take the first stab at the housing shortage.

A couple of months ago, I received a lengthy letter from an 83-year-old alumnus who commented on my annual summer letter to the alumni. His letter was colorful and had many striking formulations. I quote a paragraph from it that was critical: "Your letter reminds me somewhat of the U.S. President’s annual State of the Union speech in which a rosy picture of the nation is always presented. You don’t mention Stanford’s astronomical tuition, the fiasco of the union of the short-lived joint venture with the University of California at San Francisco or the bloated state of Stanford’s endowment fund and the vast income it accrues."

May this serve as an introduction to my disappointments. As to tuition, my disappointment has been that wages and housing prices in the San Francisco Bay Area have taken their toll. While tuition at almost all universities has continued to rise, what is satisfying is that Stanford also continues to assure the accessibility of a Stanford education to all those who are admitted and that the amount families of students who receive financial aid are asked to pay will not increase as long as the family’s financial capability will not increase. After financial aid has been taken into consideration and divided by the total number of undergraduates, Stanford’s "average tuition" remains just below $15,000–not "astronomical" in light of the opportunities we open for our students and the fact that we are truly one of the best universities in the world.

As to the letter-writer’s second point, the "short-lived joint venture" with UCSF, there can be no doubt that nothing has been more difficult, more disturbing, and more disappointing in these eight years than the pursuit and the failure of our effort to be bold in dealing with market conditions and governmental policies that strongly disfavor academic medical centers.

I turn to the letter’s third point about the "bloated state of Stanford’s endowment fund and the vast income it accrues." Among my greatest disappointments has been my inability to make people understand, in spite of incessant efforts on my part, that Stanford is not a rich institution given all the good work it does. While the overall performance of the economy since the end of our Centennial Campaign, a first-rate development office, and, by any standard, very successful fundraising have helped boost the university’s endowment, income from endowment still covered only 16% of the university’s operating expenses in 1998-99. In a recent comparison of private universities, Stanford was ranked number 21 in terms of endowment value per student.


VI

In 1994, I wrote a magazine column in which I asked whether Stanford had become a "culture of niches" with associated activities often elevated above our core academic pursuits. I had entitled the column "Sideshows and the Main Tent," adopting the theme of a president of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, who led that university from 1902 to 1910 and who even then worried whether the sideshows at the university threatened to overcome the attractions of the main tent.

I do not think I delude myself in my belief that over the last few years the number of those who join in engaging and supporting Stanford as a whole has increased. But here, too, we need to assure with vigilance that we do not stand still. I certainly owe much to many in my efforts to concern myself with virtually every aspect of the university, from undergraduate to graduate, from classics to bioengineering, from strengthening the generational bridges to strengthening the financial foundations of the common enterprise.

Nothing that the university has accomplished in the first decade of Stanford’s second century could have been done without the often unstinting collaboration of a great number of people: provosts, faculty, deans, chairs, students, trustees, senior officers, the staff, alumni, parents, and local, national, and worldwide friends. The university is much indebted to many for their strong commitment to the support of Stanford’s core mission of teaching, learning, and research. On behalf of the present generation and on behalf of future Stanford generations, I thank all of them. Together we have done much to bring the cause of the university forward.

In 1992, I concluded my inaugural address by quoting two lines from a poem by Hutten entitled "Hutten’s Song." When David Starr Jordan decided to leave the Midwest to come to Stanford, he used these lines in a letter to his mentor, Andrew Dickson White, then president of Cornell:

With open eyes I have dared it,
And cherish no regret . . .

When one is married "I" actually means "we." I could not have come without Regina’s willingness to move, though our move was greatly disruptive for her research, teaching, clinical activities, relationships–in short all aspects of her life. I could not have survived, especially the early years, without her steady support. In addition to maintaining a full-time academic career, she also took on the many responsibilities that befall a university president’s spouse. I thank Regina on my own behalf and, if I may, on behalf of the university. We dared it and "cherish no regret."

Thank you for your patience!