2009: The year in review

Even amid the challenges of an international economic downturn, Stanford's faculty and staff continued to pursue and support cutting-edge research and make their mark in public service; students excelled in the classroom and on the playing field and dynamic programs, including a visit from Yoko Ono, drew crowds.  Here are some of the Stanford highlights of 2009.

January

Five Stanford scientists and the university librarian were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

  • Christopher Field, professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science and director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology;
  • Peter Jackson, associate professor of pathology;
  • Theodore Jardetzky, professor of structural biology;
  • Michael Keller, the Ida M. Green University Librarian, director of Academic Information Resources, founder and publisher of HighWire Press and publisher of Stanford University Press;
  • Robert Malenka, the Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; and
  • Irving Weissman, professor of pathology and of developmental biology and the Virginia & D. K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research.

Stanford political scientist Professor Michael McFaul was tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as special assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council.

Graduate student Ketaki Gokhale was awarded the 2009 Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism Internship at the Wall Street Journal. The award memorializes the late Stanford alumnus and Wall Street Journal reporter murdered in Pakistan.

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former president, in conversation with political science Professor Scott Sagan, defended his country’s record on combating terrorism before a capacity crowd in Memorial Auditorium.

Undergraduate Admission received a record number of applications—30,349—for admission to the Class of 2013, a 20 percent increase over the year before.

L. A. Cicero History Professor Gordon Chang and artist Yoko Ono fielded questions after Ono's presentation at Dinkelspiel Auditorium on Jan. 14.

History Professor Gordon Chang and artist Yoko Ono fielded questions after Ono's presentation at Dinkelspiel Auditorium on Jan. 14.

Recognizing that energy is at the heart of many of the world’s challenges —economic, environmental and political—Stanford announced the establishment of the Precourt Institute for Energy and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, thanks to $100 million in support from Jay Precourt, Thomas Steyer and Kat Taylor.

Tickets were snapped up within hours for a visit by avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, who talked about her life and art and her installation of “wish trees” on campus.

February

Some 150,000 maps of the Americas, drawn between 1700 and 1925, were donated to the University Libraries’ Special Collections by David Rumsey, creating one of the premier cartographic collections of American history in the United States.

Five faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Engineering: William Dally, the Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor in the School of Engineering and chair of the Computer Science Department; Chaitan Khosla, professor of chemistry and of chemical engineering; Mendel Rosenblum, associate professor of computer science and of electrical engineering; Lawrence Wein, the Paul E. Holden Professor in the Graduate School of Business; and Paul Yock, the Martha Meier Weiland Professor in the School of Medicine and founding co-chair of the Department of Bioengineering.

The Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center opened in Redwood City, housing specialized services previously located on the main campus.

For the fourth year in a row, Stanford was named the top fundraiser among U.S. colleges and universities for having raised $785 million from private donors.

Three Stanford scholars received Sloan Research Fellowships: Chao-Lin Kuo, assistant professor of physics and a researcher at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Maxence Nachury, assistant professor of molecular and cellular physiology; and Michèle Tertilt, assistant professor of economics.

L. A. Cicero Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's March 2 talk at Memorial Auditorium drew alumni, students, faculty and staff.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's March 2 talk at Memorial Auditorium drew alumni, students, faculty and staff.

March

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told a large audience in Memorial Auditorium, “We are still the nation people look to.”

Stanford ranked second after MIT for the impact of its websites in a survey of more than 14,000 universities.

A $10 million gift  from Dan and Rae Emmett endowed the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, senior research scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, joined the Obama administration as a special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council.

A Stanford senior, a medical student and an alumna received word they will head to the University of Cambridge in England as Gates Scholars: Muhammad Bilal Mahmood, a senior majoring in biology; Chandler Robinson, a student at the School of Medicine; and Elizabeth “Eliza” Ridgeway, who graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

The Department of Dermatology celebrated its 50th anniversary with a symposium at its new location in Redwood City.

The Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, one of the five largest sound archives in the United States, celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The School of Medicine announced that it would be posting on its website the medical- and research-related consulting activities of 1,200 affiliated physicians and faculty.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute named three Stanford researchers as HHMI Early Career Scientists: Howard Chang, associate professor of dermatology; Tirin Moore, assistant professor of neurobiology; and Karl Deisseroth, associate professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

L. A. Cicero Senior Christian Torres, editor-in-chief of the Stanford Daily, presented Lorry Lokey a framed front page of the issue published the day after Lokey was elected editor-in-chief of the student newspaper in 1949.

Senior Christian Torres, editor-in-chief of the Stanford Daily, presented Lorry Lokey a framed front page of the issue published the day after Lokey was elected editor-in-chief of the student newspaper in 1949.

April

Lorry Lokey was among the former Stanford Daily staff members on hand to dedicate the new Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building, home to the university's daily student newspaper.

Two juniors were awarded Truman Scholarships for graduate study in public service, and an alumnus working in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies was awarded a Luce Scholarship. Bethany Woolman and Daniel Shih won Truman Scholarships, which support students committed to public service. Michael Chaitkin, an assistant to the co-directors of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at the Freeman Spogli Institute, was named a Luce Scholar. That program places individuals in internships in Asian countries.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced new fellows, including 11 Stanford faculty members and a consulting professor:

  • Hongjie Dai, the J. G. Jackson and C. J. Wood Professor in Chemistry;
  • Deborah Hensler, the Judge John W. Ford Professor in Dispute Resolution and associate dean for graduate studies at the Law School;
  • Matthew Jackson, the William D. Eberle Professor in Economics;
  • Aharon Kapitulnik, professor of physics and applied physics;
  • Mark Krasnow, professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator;
  • Jon Alexander Krosnick, the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and a professor of communication and of political science;
  • W. James Nelson, the Rudy J. and Daphne Donohue Munzer Professor and a professor of molecular and cellular physiology;
  • Norman Nie, research professor of political science;
  • Stuart S. P. Parkin, consulting professor of applied physics and director of the IBM-Stanford Spintronic Science and Applications Center;
  • Deborah Rhode, the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law;
  • Jennifer Widom, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science and professor of electrical engineering and chair of the Computer Science Department; and
  • Tobias Wolff, the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in English.
Courtesy SLAC The Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC.

The Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC.

After years of design and construction, the world's brightest X-ray machine—the Linac Coherent Light Source—came to life at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Paul Stockton, senior research scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, was nominated by President Barack Obama to become assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and security affairs.

The Office of Public Affairs’ Community Partnership Awards were presented to three partnerships between Stanford and its neighbors: Redwood City 2020, MayView Community Health Center and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, while Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor in Education, won the Haas Center’s Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize.

President John Hennessy announced to the Academic Council that Stanford will reduce the amount of money it will spend from the endowment over the next two years to “reduce the draw on the endowment and realign expenses with the reduced value of the endowment as fast as possible.”

May

Stanford won a $20 million federal grant to launch the Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion, which will concentrate on sustainable energy technology.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer, spoke to a packed house of aspiring entrepreneurs in Memorial Auditorium.

Details and descriptions of more than 4,000 documents about Martin Luther King Jr. went public when the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute launched a new online database.

Bianxiao Cui, assistant professor of chemistry, was selected as a 2009 Searle Scholar for young biomedical scientists who have the potential for making significant contributions to biological research.

Haiyan Lee, assistant professor of Chinese literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, won the 2009 Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for Revolution of the Heart: A Genealogy of Love in China, 1900-1950.

Free videos of Stanford’s popular course on creating applications for the iPhone and iPod touch were downloaded a remarkable million times from Stanford's site on iTunes U in just seven weeks.

Economist Garth Saloner, a scholar of entrepreneurship and business strategy, was named dean of the Graduate School of Business, succeeding Robert Joss.

June

President John Hennessy presented the first Excellence Through Diversity Awards to Noe Lozano, associate dean for student and diversity affairs in the School of Engineering, and to faculty and students representing the program Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, led by Karen Cook, the Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor in the Department of Sociology.


German President Horst Köhler awarded President Emeritus Gerhard Casper and James Sheehan, the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, the Great Cross of the Order of Merit with Star for service to the Federal Republic of Germany. 

L. A. Cicero U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was the speaker at the 118th Commencement.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was the speaker at the 118th Commencement.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy told Stanford graduates during the 118th Commencement to spread American principles of justice, especially in places that resist them.

July

Richard Zare, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science, was named the Priestley Medalist for 2010 by the American Chemical Society, and was one of 22 recipients nationwide of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

August

The Board of Trustees elected Ronald Spogli, former U.S. ambassador to Italy and San Marino, to a five-year term.

September

Christopher Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, was named one of 10 recipients of the 2009 Heinz Awards “for his leadership and innovation in carbon cycle and climate science.”

Stanford helped launch Futurity, a site to showcase discoveries in science, engineering, the environment and health from a group of leading research universities.

Siegfried Hecker, co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, was named a recipient of the 2009 Enrico Fermi Award, one of the U.S. government’s oldest and most prestigious science and technology prizes.

Aided by a $2.5 million gift from Google, Stanford created an endowed chair in memory of the late Rajeev Motwani, a computer science professor known for his mentorship of entrepreneurs, including Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

With the help of the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society Fair Use Project, scholar Carol Shloss reached a settlement with the James Joyce Estate that may help other researchers quote from the writer’s works.

Stanford earned 13 top National Institutes of Health awards, all of which encourage “out of the box, high stakes research”; the recipients were from the schools of Medicine and Engineering and won Pioneer Awards, New Innovator Awards and Transformative R01 Awards. Roughly one of every 10 awards went to Stanford researchers, for an estimated $29 million over the next five years that will enable them to pursue creative research proposals.

Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor in Education, won the 2009 Harold W. McGraw, Jr., Prize in Education after earlier winning the Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association.

Michael Rooney, Class of 2011 Students premiered 'Beyond My Circle' at The National Theater in Uganda.

Students premiered 'Beyond My Circle' at The National Theater in Uganda.

Students from Makerere University in Uganda collaborated with Stanford students on a performance of “Beyond My Circle” in a first of its kind program.

October

With an overall "A-" on the College Sustainability Report Card, Stanford once again took top honors in an annual evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities.

Stanford announced an ambitious, long-range, $250 million initiative to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions: The cogeneration plant, which burns natural gas to create steam heat and generate electricity, will shut down in a few years as the university embraces heat recovery and reuse.

Five members of the medical faculty were elected to the Institute of Medicine: Russ Altman, professor of genetics and of medicine and chair of bioengineering; Patrick Brown, professor of biochemistry and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Michael Cleary, the Lindhard Family Professor in Pediatric Cancer Biology and professor of pathology; Allan Reiss, the Howard C. Robbins Professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; and Lawrence Steinman, the George A. Zimmermann Professor and professor of neurology and neurological sciences and of pediatrics.

Stephen Shenker, professor of physics and the Richard Herschel Weiland Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, was awarded the 2010 Lars Onsager Prize for contributions in the field of theoretical particle physics.

L. A. Cicero The fourth annual Stanford Roundtable was moderated by Charlie Rose.

The fourth annual Stanford Roundtable was moderated by Charlie Rose.

Charlie Rose moderated the fourth annual Stanford Roundtable, during Reunion Homecoming Weekend, titled “The Road Back: From Economic Meltdown to Renewal.”

Chief Justice John Roberts dedicated Stanford Law School’s William H. Rehnquist Courtyard, located in the center of the Munger Graduate Residences.

November

Daniel Shih, a senior political science major at Stanford, was named a 2010 Rhodes Scholar. 

Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies, was awarded Ramon Margalef Prize for a lifetime achievement in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.

December

Four Stanford alumni were named Marshall Scholars (Andrew Ehrich, Annie Kalt, Emily Warren and Michael Wilkerson) and one was named a Mitchell Scholar (Fagan Harris).

Football player Toby Gerhart led the Cardinal in an impressive season and finished second in the Heisman Trophy competition, while breaking the Stanford single-season rushing record with 1,736 yards and 26 touchdowns. The team garnered an invitation to the Sun Bowl.

The women’s soccer team ended its regular season with a perfect record and finished second nationally in the NCAA championships.

Kavitark Shriram, founder of Sherpalo Ventures LLC, a Menlo Park venture fund, was elected to the Board of Trustees.

Eight Stanford scientists were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj (electrical engineering), Ann Arvin (pediatrics, microbiology), Karla Kirkegaard (microbiology, immunology), Peter Sarnow (microbiology, immunology), David Hand Coward (SLAC), Michael Peskin (SLAC), Cecilia Ridgeway (social sciences) and JoAnne Hewett (SLAC).