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Exciting news about our new school: A message from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne

Dear Stanford community,

I am writing with some exciting news about our new school focused on climate and sustainability, Stanford’s first new school in 70 years.

Today we are announcing that the school will launch this fall as the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, recognizing a $1.1 billion commitment from longtime Stanford supporters Ann and John Doerr. An additional group of lead donors has made extremely generous contributions to support key elements of the new school envisioned by our faculty. The school will focus on three broad areas: Earth, Climate and Society. It represents our collective commitment at Stanford to developing knowledge and solutions in these fields at the scale this work demands.

We’re also announcing today that the inaugural dean of the new school will be Arun Majumdar, the Jay Precourt Professor, professor of mechanical engineering, and former co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy. Arun is an internationally recognized expert in sustainable energy solutions and policy, and he has served in leadership roles in industry and government as well as academia. Provost Drell and I believe he is the ideal leader to launch the new school.

You can read more about these developments in the special edition of Stanford Report that is being issued this morning, as well as in this announcement on our website.

This new school will build strategically on the strong foundation established through Stanford’s history of scholarship in Stanford Earth and our other schools and interdisciplinary institutes. It will include our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as a joint department with the School of Engineering. The new school will build fundamental knowledge of the Earth and its systems, accelerate the development of solutions to the climate crisis at the scale that is needed, and educate tomorrow’s problem solvers and change makers in this urgent area.

In the materials we’re issuing today you can read more about our ambitious plans for the school, which include an expansion of our existing interdisciplinary research collaborations; the creation of a Sustainability Accelerator and an Institute for Sustainable Societies; the addition of faculty in key fields such as energy, climate science, and sustainable development and environmental justice; new facilities to support this important work; and much more.

In total, the generosity of our supporters has resulted in $1.69 billion raised toward the launch of the new school. I am deeply grateful to the Doerrs and to the other lead donors for their confidence in Stanford’s exceptional faculty and students, and for their commitment to advancing the teaching and research that will help us create a more sustainable future.

I am also deeply appreciative of Kam Moler and Steve Graham, the school’s transition dean and vice dean, respectively. They have worked tirelessly over the last two years to engage with faculty, students, staff, alumni and others in shaping the plans for this new school and in working closely with many of our lead donors as they considered how best to support the highest needs for launching the school.

The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will launch officially on Sept. 1, 2022. I hope you’ll share my enthusiasm and pride as we open this bold new chapter in the story of Stanford’s contributions to our broader world.


Marc Tessier-Lavigne