Farnaz Khadem, chief communications officer at Caltech and previously communications director at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has been appointed vice president for university communications at Stanford following a national search.

Farnaz Khadem

As vice president, Farnaz Khadem will oversee university-wide internal and external communications. (Image credit: Courtesy Caltech)

The appointment is effective March 11.

Khadem brings to Stanford 25 years of strategic communications experience across a broad array of roles in higher education, research organizations and the nonprofit sector. She also has served as a United States diplomat and as a journalist.

Khadem will report to Martin Shell, vice president and chief external relations officer, and will serve as a member of President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s senior staff.

“We’re delighted to welcome Farnaz back to the Stanford community,” Tessier-Lavigne said. “Her familiarity with Stanford through her years at SLAC, her strategic acumen and her demonstrated communications leadership across a rich variety of mission-driven organizations make her an exceptional match for the role of leading communications at Stanford.”

As vice president, Khadem will oversee university-wide internal and external communications at Stanford. The responsibilities of the Office of University Communications include the Stanford News Service and Stanford Report, institutional media relations, digital media strategy, web communications, emergency communications and Stanford Video. The vice president also serves as an adviser to campus leaders and convenes a network of communications professionals working across Stanford’s schools and units.

“Farnaz distinguished herself within a very strong national pool of candidates,” Shell said. “Effective communication is central to our efforts to build Stanford’s purposeful engagement with our region, nation and world, and to sustain and strengthen our bonds of community within the university. Farnaz is well suited to lead our communications team and to advance our work in sharing Stanford’s contributions with the broader world.”

Khadem joined Caltech in 2016 as chief communications officer after serving for five years as director of communications at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford for the U.S. Department of Energy.

She previously held communications roles at Life Technologies Corp. in Carlsbad, Calif.; the University of California, Irvine; the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, Canada; The Vaccine Fund in Lyon, France; and Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis. From 1995 to 2001 she served as a diplomat in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, with postings in Tel Aviv, Rome and Washington, D.C.

“I’m excited to come home and rejoin the Stanford community. I’ve made many friends here, and I’ve developed a deep appreciation and respect for the contributions Stanford makes through its teaching and research,” Khadem said. “I’m looking forward to working with colleagues across the campus to advance Stanford’s mission and to foster engagement and connection between the university and all of its constituencies.”

Khadem holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. She was a newspaper reporter in the San Diego area following graduation. She is a native speaker of Farsi and is conversationally fluent in French and Italian.

As vice president, Khadem succeeds Lisa Lapin, who departed Stanford last summer to become vice president for communications at the J. Paul Getty Trust.