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Hennessy appoints committee to seek a new provost; seeks nominations


Provost John Hennessy announced at a meeting of the Faculty Senate Thursday that he has named a committee to seek his successor. Hennessy will become university president Sept. 1.

He also began the process of seeking nominations for the position. "We look forward to your suggestions for a new provost," he told his colleagues.

The committee will be co-chaired by Hennessy and Lucy Shapiro, developmental biology. The other members are Steve Chu, physics; Karen Cook, sociology; Wanda Corn, art; Linda Darling-Hammond, education; Jack Rakove, history; and Mark Zoback, geophysics. Representing the staff at Stanford on the committee is Suzanne Calandra, university controller. The student members are Kareem Crayton, a graduate student in the School of Law, and Brian Schmidt, an undergraduate majoring in biology.

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The committee is being staffed by Lowell Price, secretary of the Board of Trustees, and Patty Cheng, assistant secretary of the Board of Trustees.

"The new provost will play a critical role in the future of Stanford, and I believe we are fortunate to have a search committee that is so full of talented and thoughtful people with such deep loyalty to the university," Hennessy said in a statement.

"I'm sure I speak for all members of the committee when I say we look forward to hearing from faculty, students and staff with nominations of candidates. I'm confident that, with this type of participation from the community and the good judgment of the committee, we will find the absolutely best person to be Stanford's next provost."

Mark Zoback, chair of the Faculty Senate, said the ideal provost "is someone who knows the university well and who will be a strong and capable partner with President Hennessy in dealing with the broad range of problems associated with internal governance, working hard to improve relations with surrounding communities and continuing to reach out for support to the extended Stanford family of alumni and friends."

Also on Thursday, a letter from Hennessy seeking nominations for the provost position was sent by e-mail to Academic Council faculty, the ASSU Senate and a representative of the Graduate Student Council.

"The search committee for a new provost has been formed and plans to work expeditiously. As a first and important step in the search process, we seek the counsel of Stanford faculty, staff and students," the letter says.

"Which tenured member or members of the Stanford faculty do you propose for consideration as the next provost? What reasons do you list for suggesting the consideration of this person? Special thought needs to be given to potential candidates who are women or members of ethnic minority groups."

The letter asks that written suggestions be made before Friday, May 5, via e-mail to, faxed to 725-7340, or sent by mail to Building 310, mail code 2060. All communications will be kept strictly confidential.

A year ago, a similar committee selected Hennessy to be provost. That panel was co-chaired by Shapiro and President Gerhard Casper. Darling-Hammond served on that committee as well.

Hennessy has said that ideally he would like to have a new provost named by Commencement.

Hennessy was appointed provost last year after the departure of Condoleezza Rice, professor of political science and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. SR