Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to share a few personal thoughts following my announcement that I will be stepping down from my position as provost in the fall.

My decision to step down from my role as provost was not an easy one. By this fall, I will have spent most of the past 16 years of my career in senior leadership roles that served the university. I have found this experience incredibly rewarding, and despite the many difficult moments, I would not have wanted to spend those years in any other way! The breadth of the Stanford enterprise is stunning, and as provost, I loved engaging with all elements of the institution in the service of our collective mission.

Most meaningful to me has been the ability to interact with all of you, both faculty and staff. I have learned from you in countless ways and appreciated engaging with you as colleagues and as friends. I cannot thank you enough for your energy and dedication to the institution and your support of me during the most challenging times.

It is now time for me to step down. Much has been accomplished and while more remains to be done, there are strong leaders who are stepping up to take on the responsibility of shaping the future of the institution. I look forward to seeing them grow and thrive.

I am particularly indebted to those of you who over the years have helped me make the best decisions I could for the university. The problems that end up on the provost’s desk often are difficult and the decisions that must be made are hard. I appreciate that while we might not have always agreed, I felt that you gave me the grace of good intentions and the respect to bring your disagreements to me directly.

While there are too many people to thank personally for their support and wise counsel over the years, I do want to specifically thank Marc Tessier-Lavigne for giving me the opportunity to serve as provost. I’m proud of what we have accomplished together over the last six years and I have appreciated our partnership and the chance to advance Stanford’s mission together. Thank you, Marc, for the chance to work with you.

In the field of higher education, we are all united by our common belief that education and research are fundamental drivers of progress in our society and the world. It is our collective calling. And you, my dear colleagues, are what makes Stanford one of the best higher education institutions in the world. As long as you keep your optimism and stay focused on our mission, I believe that Stanford has a bright and exciting future.

Even though I will step down as provost later this year, Stanford is still my home. I look forward to seeing and working with many of you in new ways in the years ahead.

With thanks and deep gratitude to all of you who have been on this journey with me,