"Looking Backward, Thinking Forward": President John Hennessy's 2005 speech to the Academic Council

L.A. Cicero

President John Hennessy spoke at the annual meeting of the Academic Council on March 31, 2005, in Cubberley Auditorium.

In his annual address to the Academic Council on March 31, 2005, President John Hennessy reviewed the academic and administrative accomplishments of the past five years and discussed the future directions of the university. Following is the text of his speech:

Good afternoon. As this marks the fifth year I have served as your president, I felt that it would be appropriate to reflect on our accomplishments of the past five years and consider our future.

In thinking about today’s remarks, I was reminded of Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel, Looking Backward: 2000 to 1887, written just two years after Stanford’s founding grant. Bellamy thrusts his main character into the year 2000, a time of great peace and prosperity, when education is highly valued and there is no suffering. I think we would all agree that this is not quite the picture of the 21st century we have come to know. But the device allows Bellamy to look at the present—in his case, the late 19th century—with a critical eye and to envision a stronger future.

My title for today’s remarks is inspired by Bellamy’s novel. When I was inaugurated as Stanford University’s 10th president in the fall of 2000, it was the beginning of our 110th year as an institution. At that time, I noted that throughout Stanford’s history it has overcome challenges, taken advantage of opportunities, and created new possibilities when none previously existed, and I asked us to consider four questions:

“What does Stanford stand for?”

“What shall we be in 10 years?”

“In 100 years?”

“How do we ensure that future generations of our community will have the same opportunities that we have had?”

Over the past five years we have overcome some difficult problems and achieved some remarkable success. Our future is characterized primarily by potential opportunities rather than shortcomings to be overcome.

It seems appropriate to start by describing the state of the university when I assumed the presidency in the fall of 2000. Under President Gerhard Casper’s leadership, many of the landmark enhancements that were proposed by the Commission on Undergraduate Education had been implemented, including Stanford Introductory Seminars, Sophomore College, the new Introduction to the Humanities sequence, and a new foreign language requirement. Funding for these initiatives was from an expendable gift intended to explore the possibilities for significant innovation in Stanford’s undergraduate program.

By the fall of 2000, the dot-com boom had peaked and begun its retreat, although the full impact would not be seen for another year. Large increases in housing costs were affecting faculty recruitment and had created a crisis in graduate student housing, to which the university responded by constructing additional residences. The ill-fated UCSF-Stanford hospital merger had just been undone. Preliminary discussion about the university’s new general use permit had just begun, amid a setting of concerns about traffic, housing, and growth. Bio-X was an evolving vision without a home that was still early in the design process.

In short, a variety of challenges stood before us in the fall of 2000: ensuring permanent funding for the new undergraduate programs, negotiating a general use permit, restoring our hospitals to financial viability, adding much-needed graduate housing, building the Clark Center, and launching Bio-X. And unbeknownst to anyone the financial downturn was around the corner, a downturn that would affect the entire investment market.

While I will review our progress both on overcoming these challenges and moving in new directions, I also will talk about our future. Stanford has been characterized since its founding days by a willingness to be bold and to strike out in new directions, and I believe that this characteristic is one we must continue to foster.

Academic Issues:

Undergraduate Studies

When the Commission on Undergraduate Education issued its landmark report just over 10 years ago, its recommendations included sweeping changes designed to stimulate broader and deeper intellectual engagement by our undergraduates. Today we can see the fruit of this investment throughout the undergraduate experience, but especially during freshman and sophomore years.

Over the past five years we have invested heavily in supporting undergraduate involvement in research and independent learning. Going forward, I hope that we will continue to look for new ways to involve undergraduates in the pursuit of knowledge, to develop their skills as independent learners, and to support them as they take advantage of the opportunities that only a research university can offer.

To support the new undergraduate programs, at my inauguration four years ago we launched a five-year, $1 billion Campaign for Undergraduate Education, or CUE. No other university had attempted to raise $1 billion exclusively for undergraduate education, but we believed that the enhancements we had made were compelling and that we could demonstrate the benefit and impact of theses programs and generate philanthropic interest among our alumni and friends.

With the remarkable support and generosity of our alumni, parents, and friends, we reached the $1 billion mark in December 2004. This is a tribute to the loyalty and affection our alumni have for Stanford, but it is also the result of the incredible effort of development staff and of the many faculty and students who traveled around the United States to share their personal experiences in these programs.

As part of our undergraduate initiatives, we created the Bass University Fellows Program to honor and recognize our colleagues who have made distinguished contributions to undergraduate education in the classroom or the laboratory, or as advisors and mentors. To date, 32 faculty colleagues have been named University Fellows for Undergraduate Education, and we hope to name eight additional fellows to complete our cycle this fall. Albert Einstein once noted, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.” The annual opportunity to recognize extraordinary examples of the commitment of my colleagues to undergraduate education is a new Stanford tradition, which is quite appropriate.

We also have made important changes in admissions and financial aid. In admissions, we moved to a single-choice, early-action plan designed to give students a chance to receive an early decision without making a binding commitment. The significant increase in applicants to this program over the previous program is one measure of student response.

Over the past five years, we significantly enhanced our financial aid programs both for domestic and international students. For students from the United States, we reduced the burden for both low- and middle-income families without increasing student debt. For international students, in the context of CUE, we made our first significant progress toward endowing their financial aid.

Although we have raised almost $300 million for undergraduate financial aid endowment, Stanford must still struggle to meet its financial aid commitments every year. We rely on annual giving and operating funds to reach the required aid levels. Without the scholarship component of CUE, it is unclear whether we would have been able to maintain our historic commitment to a competitive, need-blind admissions program.

While we still face financial challenges, I think we must commit to an aggressive goal to continue to boost financial aid, especially for low-income and international students. As recent studies have shown, even the modest contributions we require for low-income students today can be a burden for those families. And, our need-blind commitment to students from the United States stands in marked contrast to our limited financial commitment for international students.

Thus, I am recommending that we set two ambitious long-term goals. First, over the next five years, we should move to eliminate any current financial contribution for families with incomes below $45,000. Second, I recommend that we set a longer-term goal to move toward need-blind admissions for international students. I believe that both goals are achievable with the support of our alumni and friends around the world.

Graduate Studies

In the past five years, the profile of the applicant pool to our graduate programs has shifted, reflecting both the aftereffects of 9/11 and a changing economy. Last year, the number of graduate applicants fell for the first time in five years; this appears to be due to a drop in international applicants, a point I will return to later.

At the same time, we have been trying to increase the diversity within our graduate student population because we recognize the critical role that this plays in determining long-term faculty diversity. The provost and I appointed a Diversity Action Council in 2002 and as one result of its recommendations, the School of Humanities and Sciences, the School of Medicine, and the Office of the Dean of Research and Graduate Policy have added staff positions to focus on this critical issue. Progress has been slow, so I believe that continued attention will be needed to improve the diversity of our graduate student body.

Graduate studies have traditionally and appropriately been directed and carried out primarily by individual departments and schools. In the budget reductions of the early 1990s, we greatly reduced the centralized support for graduate studies by eliminating the Dean of Graduate Studies and consolidating the role of setting graduate and research policy under the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Policy. Furthermore, we have not undertaken a comprehensive look at graduate education at Stanford for nearly 40 years.

We recently established the Commission on Graduate Education to reexamine our approach. We expect a report with recommendations later this year. As we did with undergraduate education, Stanford can and should play a leading role in examining how to improve and renew graduate education.


Of course, both our research and teaching mission depend heavily on the quality of our faculty. Over the past five years, we have welcomed 565 new faculty colleagues in all seven schools and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; of these, 150 were incremental faculty positions. We also appointed new leadership in several of the schools, including Deans Deborah Stipek, Education; Philip Pizzo, Medicine; Sharon Long, Humanities and Sciences; Pamela Matson, Earth Sciences; and Larry Kramer, Law.

One of the challenges that Stanford—and every other institution of higher learning in the country—has faced is the ongoing struggle to strengthen the gender and ethnic diversity of the professoriate. In 2001, the provost and I issued a statement renewing and enhancing the university’s efforts to achieve greater diversity among the faculty. We have created a campus diversity initiative that includes a committee on the status of women faculty and, as part of the Diversity Action Council I mentioned earlier, committees on faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff. Their efforts led to the establishment of the Faculty Recruitment Office, which works with search committees to ensure that a more diverse applicant pool is reached and that women and faculty of color stay at Stanford once they are hired. Although progress will likely be slow because of the low rates of turnover and growth in the professoriate, over the past five years the number of women and minorities have each grown at two to three times the rate of growth of the faculty as a whole. Continued attention will be needed to ensure progress in this area.

New Academic Directions

Shortly after I assumed the presidency, we launched a university-wide planning and needs assessment process led by a set of faculty planning committees. One committee was asked to examine the potential for university-wide interdisciplinary initiatives. It identified three high-priority opportunities: interdisciplinary biosciences and bioengineering; environmental science, engineering, and policy; and international affairs. These areas were chosen both because they represent critical challenges for our society and because they are areas where Stanford already has a significant scholarly reputation.

I believe that Stanford, as one of the great research institutions, has a responsibility to make a positive contribution to addressing the challenges the world faces—from advancing the state of human healthcare to sustaining our environment for future generations to preserving peace and improving the human condition around the world. Stanford, with its breadth of excellence and its contiguity, is well positioned to pursue such multidisciplinary initiatives. Such initiatives will require new funding and new facilities, as well as different ways of organizing teaching and research.

The James H. Clark Center houses our first university-wide initiative in the biosciences, bioengineering, and biomedicine, still known by its working name: Bio-X. Also headquartered in Clark is the new bioengineering department, which is the first department based in two schools; it already has had tremendous success in recruiting both faculty and graduate students.

We have discovered that the range of activities that falls within Bio-X is quite large, and to support these efforts, a world-class advisory council has been appointed. An interdisciplinary Bio-X research program, seeded with presidential funds, is thriving and has funded $6 million of research through a competitive process. And now, the first major gifts for research funding in Bio-X have been received.

In addition to Bio-X, last year we launched our environmental initiative with the creation of the Stanford Institute for the Environment. Under the leadership of Jeff Koseff from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Buzz Thompson from the Law School, the institute will be the focal point for environmental research and education at Stanford. A faculty advisory committee has been named, and our first broad search for faculty associated with the institute has been launched.

During the past year, our international initiative has been the focus of an intensive planning effort led by Chip Blacker, director of the Stanford Institute for International Studies (SIIS), and Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, professor of management science and engineering and senior fellow at SIIS. The committee has recommended a focus on three key research areas: peace and security, good governance, and human development. Later this spring we will launch the international initiative.

Throughout these efforts, we are searching for solutions that harness advances in science and technology. But each of these challenges also has a deeply human element. For example, how should we address the challenge of providing state-of-the-art medicine to residents of developing countries? What environmental legacy do we owe our children? How should efforts to democratize societies and improve human rights be reconciled with traditional cultures and practices? Clearly, if we are to succeed, our faculty in the social sciences and humanities will have a large role to play in addressing such questions.

The interdisciplinary faculty planning committee described a potential fourth initiative, focused on the arts and incorporating visual, literary, and performing arts. Recently, a faculty committee was appointed to further explore this possibility and how we might undertake it. Despite the growth and increased reputation of Stanford in the arts, I personally believe that our programs in the arts do not play as central a role as they should in a university of Stanford’s caliber. I hope that we can address this discrepancy in the years ahead.

Although I have focused primarily on university-wide initiatives, there are a number of multidisciplinary initiatives that are primarily composed of members from one school. For example, the Center for the Study of the North American West, endowed by Bill Lane and co-led by Professors David Kennedy and Richard White, incorporates historians, legal experts, sociologists, and political scientists to study the history and development of the West. In the medical school, the Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine brings together a variety of researchers from the basic science and the clinical departments to look at critical issues ranging from cell physiology to new approaches in treating disease.

Internationalizing the University

From its earliest days, Stanford has a history of opening its doors to the world, of exchanging ideas and research with scholars in other countries, of sending our students to study in other nations and of bringing students from other nations to study on our campus. The number of international students has continued to grow, as has the number of collaborations we have around the world, and the university’s reputation as one of the leading research and teaching institutions owes much to this tradition.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we experienced a variety of difficulties with international student visas. We worked with members of Congress and the departments of State and Homeland Security to resolve these issues, and I am happy to say that most of the visa issues for international students have been largely alleviated. Nonetheless, there is a lingering impression that the United States no longer welcomes international students with open arms. Such an impression is not in the best interests of Stanford or the country, and we must do something to rectify it.

In the future, our alumni, both from the undergraduate and graduate programs, will need to have a more international perspective. During their lives, their careers and the challenges faced by society will be shaped by globalization to an even greater extent than we have experienced.

At the undergraduate level, we have added new overseas campuses in Beijing and Australia. The addition of overseas seminar programs, which occur during September, provides students who might have difficulty taking an entire quarter abroad with a short but intensive international exposure. Participation in overseas studies has decreased since its peak in the 1980s, but the new campuses and shorter seminars have attracted great interest, and the number of students who study abroad is rising. In the future, we hope to open additional campuses and create new overseas seminar programs.

We also have launched a number of interdisciplinary research programs with international agendas, including the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Such efforts are a precursor of a larger engagement in international issues in both teaching and research. Together with a stronger commitment to international student aid, these efforts will enhance Stanford’s international reputation and impact. I sense that these programs are just the beginning of a process and that we will need to continue to internationalize and to build on them.


Physical Infrastructure:

Academic Facilities

From the earliest days of the university, the vision of Stanford has been inextricably tied to a profound sense of place. We owe this heritage to Leland and Jane Stanford, who took such great care to develop a setting that would inspire the hearts and minds of its faculty and students.

More than 100 years later, facilities remain key to our ability to support and advance our research and teaching mission, and they define our sense of place. In 2001, Stanford completed an agreement with Santa Clara County on the general use permit. This allows the university to add much-needed facilities over the next one to two decades, in return for a variety of commitments including building housing, preserving open space, creating trails, controlling traffic growth, donating financial support for public schools, and providing land for community services. Reaching an agreement was a long process that involved tremendous time and effort on the part of our faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni. The support of the university community was critical to achieving this development plan. The cost of the agreement to the university may well reach over $100 million over its lifetime. These costs, combined with other less tangible concessions, have increased the importance of using space wisely and of maximizing the use of land in the core campus while preserving our open spaces.

The value of the core campus is so great that we must restrict its use to functions that cannot be accommodated elsewhere. For example, rather than use precious campus land, an expanded library storage facility was placed in Livermore. And, in February, Stanford Hospital and Clinics announced that it plans to open a north campus consisting of outpatient care clinics by the end of 2007. In the future, we will be examining the possibility of relocating other functions off campus.

If we are to preserve open space in the core, we must build new facilities that use land more efficiently, and parking will need to migrate to structures located on the periphery or below ground. We will maintain rigorous height and massing standards, but we must make better use of the clusters and corridors already established. We recognize that the open space in Stanford’s core campus is an essential part of our identity and differentiates us from our peers, and we will not sacrifice it.

Although our first construction projects under the new general use permit are not yet occupied, between the fall of 2000 and the end of this academic year, we will have completed more than $800 million of capital projects, just over 40 percent of which are academic projects and more than 35 percent of which is housing for faculty, staff, or students.

The Science, Engineering, and Medicine Campus is more evidence of our commitment to the future. Eight buildings, two in the medical school section of campus and the other six in the science and engineering portion of campus, will enable us to replace aging and obsolete infrastructure as well as build new collaborative homes for multidisciplinary initiatives.

For example, an Environment and Energy Building will provide a center for the Stanford Institute for the Environment, much as the Clark Center now serves the Bio-X initiative. A building in the medical center campus is planned to house two new interdisciplinary institutes in medicine. Other buildings are designed to replace obsolete facilities in engineering, applied physics, and biology.

The new astrophysics building, which has just begun construction, will serve as the home for this important new direction in physics and will complete the first science and engineering quadrangle with a sister building to the Moore Laboratory for Advanced Materials.

Four buildings containing approximately 500,000 square feet will form a new quadrangle abutting the existing Hewlett-Packard quadrangle. An architectural firm selected through a competitive process is creating the overall plan for the quadrangle. Through the use of full basements and multiple heights, this site can accommodate the buildings and simultaneously reduce massing and maintain open space.

There are a variety of other academic projects under way, planned, or anticipated. These include renovations in the Knoll for the computer music program, renovations in Building 500 for the archaeology program, and new facilities for art and film study.


Since the fall of 2000, nearly $300 million has been spent on housing. This total includes the new residences for graduate students, renovations of many undergraduate residences, and an apartment complex.

As I mentioned earlier, the late 1990s found Stanford in a housing crisis. In addition to building additional graduate residences, we also built a 628-unit apartment project, Stanford West. Including a contribution to the Sand Hill Road infrastructure, the project cost $118 million. Although we hoped that Stanford faculty and staff would be the primary residents, we did not know what to expect. Today nearly 95 percent of the units are rented to Stanford families.

Over a five-year period we have spent $160 million on graduate and undergraduate housing. We added over 750 beds for graduate students in several new Escondido housing projects. Renovations in various undergraduate houses both added some capacity and updated aging facilities.

Despite these efforts, we are still unable to meet the full demand for graduate housing and many undergraduates remain overcrowded in existing housing. For example, more than 300 students live in Roble Hall, originally designed to house around 200.

As we re-think the graduate experience to encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations within the residences, we have looked at how the residential experience can support these efforts. Thanks to a $43.5 million gift from Charles Munger and his wife, Nancy, a Stanford alumna, we will build new graduate residential facilities that will be open to graduate students in law, business, and other disciplines. These facilities have generated a great deal of discussion among the community, and the provost and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of many of the suggestions. We have taken them into consideration, and we believe they have resulted in a better design that reduces both density and massing.

Completion of the Munger project will allow more than 350 spaces now being used for graduate students to be used for undergraduates. Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education John Bravman has proposed sweeping changes to our undergraduate housing programs to significantly improve the quality of undergraduate housing by using the freed-up spaces and building an additional dormitory and three more Row houses.

University Finances

At the end of the 1990s, the pressures of the economic boom were making it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain faculty and staff. Staff turnover reached record numbers, and faculty recruiting was made very difficult by rapid increases in housing costs. The university responded with more aggressive salary programs and an enhanced faculty housing program.

The boom was quickly followed by the bust in the second half of 2000. A drop in projected endowment income, necessary increases in financial aid, and increases in programs planned under more optimistic assumptions combined to put the university in a financially strained situation. Several years of budget reductions and a one-year salary freeze, combined with a more rapid return of endowment earnings than we had expected, brought the budget back into the black. I want to thank all my colleagues for their efforts and sacrifices as we worked our way through several years of significant budget cutbacks. That hard work paid off when we ended fiscal years 2003 and 2004 with operating surpluses.

Although we have had two consecutive years of positive financial results, we will continue to face financial challenges. Among our close peers, Stanford still has one of the lowest endowments per student and the highest cost of living. Adding further financial uncertainty, we continue to rely to a greater extent on external research funding. Of course, to retain our academic leadership and pioneer in new areas requires that we invest in new faculty, programs, and facilities as well as provide competitive salaries and benefits for our faculty and staff, and meet the financial aid demands of our students.


The Stanford Management Company has done quite well since the downturn of 2001 and 2002, and by the end of fiscal year 2004, the value of the endowment surpassed the value at the peak of the boom years.

Although our endowment ranks among the largest in private universities, it does not provide as much of a financial foundation as our peers enjoy. For example, in fiscal year 2004, income from our endowment provided only 20 percent of our operating budget, while at our peers it provided 30 percent or more of their operating budget.

To provide for future needs, we must continue to focus on building the endowment through development, as well as on ensuring that our investment policies are world class.

Sponsored Research

As with any large, American research university, Stanford is dependent on the federal financing of research. Excluding the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, sponsored research last year provided 43 percent of the operating budget, or more than double the fraction provided by income from the endowment. Furthermore, indirect costs provide almost $80 million, or 15 percent, of the general funds allocated by the provost.

Stanford faculty have been incredibly successful in their pursuit of research funding, even in fields where the amount of funding has stagnated or fallen in real terms. Going forward, Stanford will remain critically dependent on federal research funding. Although I have the utmost confidence in the ability of my colleagues to compete for such funding, pressures on the federal budget and the critical dependence on federal funding for supporting our research and our graduate students dictate that we must continue to look for ways to reduce our exposure to a downturn in such funding.

The Hospitals

For nearly two decades we have also seen the financial pressures on academic medical centers escalate. The problems are complex and range from inadequate compensation for patient care from the government to demands for lower cost from employers and insurance companies. Given the research and academic mission of our medical center, it is unrealistic to expect us to be low-cost providers, yet we must operate our hospitals in a fiscally responsible manner.

Immediately after the dissolution of the merger, achieving financial stability was particularly difficult. The hospitals had a combined deficit of $31 million, and I felt that their continued existence as academic teaching hospitals was threatened. Fortunately, in recent years we have made significant progress, thanks to extraordinary efforts by the hospital staff, faculty physicians, and the leadership. By last year, the Stanford Hospital and Clinics reported a surplus of $101 million, and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital reported positive results of $47 million. While this is excellent news and a tribute to the strong leadership of the medical center, we anticipate that there will be continued challenges and volatility in this area as we struggle with a competitive market and our own hurdles arising from inadequate or outmoded facilities.


As I have noted, we have met with remarkable success in our Campaign for Undergraduate Education, and with the return of a strong economy, we have seen increases in general giving to Stanford.

Much of our success can be attributed to an important and incredibly generous gift we received four years ago. On May 2, 2001, the Hewlett Foundation awarded $400 million to Stanford—$300 million for the School of the Humanities and Sciences and $100 million for the Campaign for Undergraduate Education. In July 2004, the School of Humanities and Sciences surpassed the $100 million mark in matching gifts and pledges, increasing its endowment by almost $200 million, including the Hewlett match. These new funds will support dozens of professorships, directorships, graduate fellowships, and academic programs.

Stanford continues to be a leader among its peers in development with our results typically placing us in the top two or three universities every year. I attribute this success to the hard work of the development staff and the university’s leaders; the quality of our ideas, which inspire our donors; and the pride, loyalty, and confidence that our alumni and friends have in Stanford. Our ambitious plans for the university and our limited endowment mean that development success is crucial to Stanford’s future.

Thinking Forward: Summary

Stanford has always been a pioneer in higher education. That spirit of bold leadership started more than 100 years ago with the Stanfords, who created a university in the West that balanced idealism and pragmatism and that was co-educational long before most other universities. That spirit was embodied in David Starr Jordan’s creativity and leadership in those early years, in Wallace Sterling’s and Fred Terman’s drive to make Stanford a great U.S. research university, and most recently, in the renewal of undergraduate education spearheaded by Gerhard Casper. We have transformed higher education by being willing to strike out in bold new directions.

Today, we stand near the beginning of a new millennium. It is my hope that future generations of our community will look back and see that we were thinking forward—as pioneers—about how Stanford could make a larger contribution to our world.

If Stanford is to continue to lead the way we must answer two questions:

First, how we can use our incredible research capability to help understand and find solutions for society’s most important problems?

Second, how can we train our graduates to be lifelong contributors and leaders in the 21st century?

To address these questions, we will need to bring together and build bridges among the best scholars both for research and teaching, and let our goals drive the organization and structure. We may need new ways of selecting and appointing faculty. We will need to help students learn outside of their primary discipline to better equip them to be lifelong learners. We will need facilities to enable our efforts, and we will need to cultivate existing avenues of research support, as well as develop new ones.

These new educational and research initiatives will require major funding. We must begin reaching out to our alumni and friends and engage them in discussions about Stanford’s future and its role in our world.

I opened this address by repeating a question that I had asked at my inauguration: What does Stanford stand for? We stand for excellence, for advancing the frontiers of knowledge, for communicating and sharing that knowledge, and for helping to put that knowledge to work for the benefit of future generations. Ten years from now, I hope that we will be seen as a leader in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research and teaching, as well as a contributor of solutions to some of the world’s most intractable challenges. And in 100 years, I have no doubt that the challenges will have changed, but I hope that Stanford will continue to be a pioneer, which will help ensure that our successors will also find a wealth of opportunities here.

The success of our endeavors will depend on the efforts of many individuals in the university community—students, staff, faculty, and academic leaders.

But this broad commitment of our community to the university is not new. As I thought back over the past five years and the broad range of Stanford’s accomplishments during that time, I was struck by how many members of the university community have made critical contributions to our success. Our undergraduates and faculty have been eager participants and critics in our bold undergraduate enhancements. Our staff and administrative leaders have supported the university through the difficult budgets cuts and deployment of a less-than-perfect new financial system. Our graduate students have been committed participants in new research endeavors and willing partners in rethinking our approach to research and teaching. The faculty have devoted countless hours to planning new initiatives, and many of our colleagues sacrificed their personal work to help lead one of these efforts. The university’s academic leadership has worked as a team, devising new ways to approach our challenges and creating a bold vision for Stanford in the 21st century.

And we have been very fortunate to have a provost who, together with his staff, has shown great judgment in dealing with the complexities of the university’s multibillion-dollar budget, has overseen an ambitious capital plan of over $150 million annually, and has made wise decisions about academic appointments and priorities.

On behalf of the future generations of faculty, staff, and students that will benefit from all your efforts, each of you has my sincere gratitude.

Thank you coming and for your attention this afternoon.