Dear Stanford community,

We are writing to share an update on the progress of the Presidential Search Committee. As we communicated at the outset of the search, deeply understanding the needs of the community is a foundational step in the process to identify our next leader. Throughout the fall, the search committee spent considerable time reflecting on the insights of the community – via the thousands of survey responses, the many emails you sent, and more than 50 listening sessions. Ultimately, this step has placed us in a very good position, giving sharper definition to the needs for the role and providing momentum as we move into the next phase of our search. To those who shared their perspectives – we are deeply grateful.

Your feedback showed clear consensus that the next president must prioritize excellence in research, education, and clinical care. As many articulated, Stanford fills a unique place in higher education and in society; we must use this position not only to advance knowledge but to be a problem-solver in addressing the serious challenges facing our world today. Additionally, your insights underscored a number of important themes. These include:

Upholding Academic Freedom and Free Speech for All: This is the lifeblood of a vibrant academic community, whereby the free and open exchange of ideas challenges and expands our thinking. As American higher education grapples with how to maintain academic freedom, while creating a safe and respectful environment, Stanford’s president should lead in addressing the challenge in all its complexity.

Investing in Students: This includes ensuring that high academic standards are maintained, focusing on student well-being and success, and preserving the social fabric and breadth of the student experience at Stanford, including the role of scholar-athletes.

Elevating Stanford’s Culture: The next president should come to the position ready to affirm Stanford’s historic spirit of optimism, curiosity, grit, boldness, and fun, preserving and elevating that combination which has made Stanford unique. Necessarily, the president should foster an environment and campus culture where all individuals can thrive.

Serving as an Influential Voice in the Conversation About the Future of Higher Education: The national and global stage needs strong, informed voices to shape the future of higher education on issues ranging from access and admissions to the ethical use of AI, to the perceived value of the research university in a modern world.

Your insights also highlighted the importance of accessibility, integrity, and a balance of emotional and intellectual intelligence in our next president. In addition to this topline readout, there were many additional perceptive and instrumental comments; please know that your voices were heard and that they will inform the search committee’s thought process as we advance in our search. While this next phase is necessarily confidential, we will continue to welcome additional feedback at

Thank you again to all who provided their perspectives. We look forward to the next chapter for Stanford and the continued progress of the search with anticipation and optimism.


Bonnie Maldonado
Lily Sarafan
Gene Sykes

Stanford Presidential Search Committee Co-Chairs