Dear members of the Stanford community,

Happy New Year! I hope you are beginning the new quarter refreshed and reinvigorated from time with loved ones and friends during the winter holidays. Also, I want to extend my special thanks to all of the staff who have been working so hard to care for our community, and our campus facilities, throughout the recent winter storms.

The new year always brings an opportunity to reflect on our progress and to look to what we want to accomplish in the months ahead. As we look to the new quarter and beyond, there is much to be excited for here at Stanford.

First, as we move into winter quarter, the COLLEGE program will focus on Citizenship in the 21st Century. More than 40 instructors from across four Stanford schools (Humanities & Sciences, Law, Engineering, and Medicine) will teach the course, which has approximately 1,100 first-year students enrolled this quarter.

As students examine citizenship and the responsibilities it entails, there will also be opportunities for our whole community to engage with these ideas. For example, COLLEGE will be partnering with Theater and Performance Studies to stage Julius Caesar in Memorial Auditorium in March. This event will be open to the whole community and the public, and I hope you’ll consider joining first-year students in engaging with the play and with the important concepts it illuminates.

Second, the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability hit the ground running this fall. Exciting new course offerings, research, and community events are underway this quarter. These include a new dean’s lecture series, open to the community, that launched last month and continues this quarter. As you may have seen, last month we also announced a committee to explore the issue of fossil fuel funding of research. The committee will be led by Debra Satz and Paul Brest, and additional members will be announced this quarter. I am grateful for their commitment to this effort, which I know is of great interest to many in our community.

Third, we recently announced the co-directors of our new Institute on Race: Tomás Jiménez, professor of sociology, and Brian Lowery, professor of organizational behavior. Tomás and Brian have both been deeply involved in creating the new institute, which will be central to Stanford’s efforts to advance research and teaching on race. I am grateful to Tomás and Brian for their leadership and their ongoing commitment to this work.

These are just a few of the many exciting things we have to look forward to at Stanford this quarter. There are many more: from academic offerings like the Tanner Lecture on Jan. 24, which will focus on AI and Human Values; to arts events, including the world premiere of The Lost Birds, a work by Grammy-winning composer and Stanford alum Christopher Tin; to numerous Cardinal athletic events and the inaugural neighborhood-based “Farm Games” for undergraduates; to our opportunity to welcome friends and loved ones to campus for Family Weekend in February.

As I look to the time ahead, I am grateful to this community of faculty, staff, students, and postdocs for all that you contribute to our university every day. I wish you all a wonderful and productive winter quarter.


Marc Tessier-Lavigne