Arts and humanities advocate Roberta Denning, who earned her undergraduate degree in English and her MBA from Stanford, has been elected to the university’s Board of Trustees. Her five-year term begins Feb. 1.

Roberta Denning (Image credit: Courtesy Stanford Alumni Association)

In 2017, Denning was awarded the university’s Gold Spike Award, one of Stanford’s highest honors for volunteer service. Specifically, Denning was recognized for “a vision for Stanford as a place where the arts and humanities are fundamental, vibrant and distinctive.” The Stanford Associates, which awards the Gold Spike, praised Denning for her “passion, thoughtfulness and constant commitment.”

“Roberta Denning’s advocacy of the arts and the humanities has been truly transformational at Stanford,” said Jeff Raikes, chair of the Stanford Board of Trustees. “Her insightfulness about the vitally important role the arts and humanities play in challenging times such as these will be crucial in helping the university empower discovery and creativity in service to humankind across all academic disciplines.”

Denning helped found the Stanford Arts Advisory Council in 2006, serving as its chair, and currently is a member of the Anderson Collection Management Committee. The Stanford Visiting Artists Fund, which brings renowned artists to campus to engage with the community, is named in her honor. She also has served on the Humanities Task Force and as chair of the Humanities and Sciences Council.

At Stanford, Denning also has served on the Major Gifts Committee for the Campaign for Undergraduate Education and the Think Again Steering Committee, as well as serving as a co-chair for Leading Matters New York and a member of The Stanford Challenge Steering Committee.

Together with her husband, Steve Denning, MBA ’78, she has supported faculty programs, graduate fellowships and capital projects across the university. For instance, the Dennings provided funding for Denning House, home to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. They have also supported the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, the Natural Capital Project, the Graduate School of Business, athletics and Stanford Arts, among other areas.

She currently serves on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of The Shed. She is also chair of the Board of Trustees of the Storm King Art Center and a member of the Advisory Board for Columbia Global Reports. She also previously served on the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors and the American Museum of Natural History Advisory Council.

The Dennings live in both San Francisco and Greenwich, CT, where Roberta Denning has served as board president of Greenwich Library, board chair of the Greenwich Country Day School, board chair of the Greenwich Historical Society and on the board of the United Way of Greenwich.

She has also held positions at Time Inc., HBO and Newsweek. The Dennings have two children, both of whom earned degrees from Stanford.

Media Contacts

E. J. Miranda, University Communications: