Jonathan Levin, a distinguished economist and Stanford alumnus who has led the Stanford Graduate School of Business as dean for the last eight years, has been appointed the next president of Stanford University, the Board of Trustees announced today.

Jerry Yang, BS, MS ’90, chair of the Board of Trustees, thanked the 20-member Presidential Search Committee (PSC) for their work, and said Levin was the unanimous choice of the search committee and of the trustees. The PSC conducted a comprehensive search for Stanford’s next president. Levin will become president effective Aug. 1, 2024.

Getting to know Jon Levin

  • Born 1972, New Haven, CT

  • BA English, BS Mathematics, Stanford University

  • MPhil Economics, Oxford University

  • PhD Economics, MIT

  • Stanford faculty member since 2000

  • Chair, Stanford Department of Economics, 2011-14

  • Holbrook Working Professor, Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, 2012-present

  • Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2016-present

  • Trustee, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, 2020-present

  • Member, President Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2021-present

  • Hobbies: Time with family in the outdoors. Wilderness adventure – backpacking / white water kayaking.  Avid runner and tennis player.

  • Research interests: incentive contracting, auctions, and marketplaces, e-commerce, consumer lending, health care competition, economics of technology.

  • Awards and honors, among others: Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; John Bates Clark Medal as the outstanding American economist under the age of 40; Fulbright Scholar; Sloan Research Fellow; Guggenheim Fellow; Stanford Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; Poets and Quants business school Dean of the Year.

  • Family: Wife Amy Levin, physician, whom he met in high school. Three children.

“Jon brings a rare combination of qualities: a deep understanding and love of Stanford, an impressive track record of academic and leadership success, the analytical prowess to tackle complex strategic issues, and a collaborative and optimistic working style,” Yang said. “He is consistently described by those who know him as principled, humble, authentic, thoughtful, and inspiring. We are excited about Stanford’s future under Jon’s leadership.”

Levin, 51, has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 2000. The winner in 2011 of the John Bates Clark Medal, an award recognizing the most outstanding American economist under the age of 40, Levin today is the Philip H. Knight Professor and dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He also serves as a member of President Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

“I am grateful and humbled to be asked to lead Stanford – a university that has meant so much to me for more than three decades,” Levin said. “When I was an undergraduate, Stanford opened my mind, nurtured my love for math and literature, and inspired me to pursue an academic career. In the years since, it has given me opportunities to pursue ideas in collaboration with brilliant colleagues, teach exceptional students, and bring people together to achieve ambitious collective goals around the university.”

“As I look to Stanford’s future, I’m excited to strengthen our commitment to academic excellence and freedom; to foster the principles of openness, curiosity, and mutual respect; and to lead our faculty and students as they advance knowledge and seek to contribute in meaningful ways to the world.”

Levin will succeed Richard Saller, who has served as Stanford’s president on an interim basis since September 2023.

“I want to thank President Richard Saller for his exemplary leadership this year,” Levin said. “He, along with Provost Martinez, have demonstrated deeply principled academic values and uncommon thoughtfulness as they have navigated a unique set of challenges. I look forward to working with them in the months ahead, and continuing that work with Provost Martinez and leaders across the university to envision an even better Stanford.”

Presidential search process

The PSC, composed of diverse stakeholders across the university, conducted an extensive and rigorous seven-month search for the university’s 13th president. Read more about the search process.

Leaders of the search highlighted Levin’s impressive academic credentials, strong track record as dean of the Graduate School of Business, and extensive knowledge of Stanford and its culture. They also noted that he has the personal qualities that members of the community emphasized were important in Stanford’s next president, including integrity, humility, aspiration, and emotional and intellectual intelligence.

“Jon is a leader who drives change in a way that engages faculty, students, and other stakeholders,” said Bonnie Maldonado, MD ’81, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee and senior associate dean for faculty development and diversity in the Stanford School of Medicine. “Moreover, Jon’s academic background, analytical skills, and experience have provided him with the skillset and ability to oversee this incredibly complex institution.”

“Jon exhibits a perspective that blends optimism, intellect, ideas, and experience,” said Lily Sarafan, BS ’03, MS ’03, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee and trustee. “Jon has a deep understanding of Stanford and its role in the world, including the need to expand the university’s educational reach, support emerging areas of research, and renew trust and goodwill both internally and externally.”

“We interviewed an impressive slate of candidates, individuals with excellent credentials and experience,” Sarafan continued. “From that outstanding group, Jon emerged as the person best suited to lead Stanford into the future.”

Academic career and public service

Levin attended Stanford as an undergraduate, completing a BA in English and a BS in mathematics in 1994. He then completed an MPhil in economics from Oxford University and a PhD in economics from MIT.

Jonathan Levin smiles in a blue fleece.

Credit: Aubrie Pick

He joined the economics faculty at Stanford in 2000 and later was awarded an endowed chair, becoming the Holbrook Working Professor of Price Theory in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

He served as chair of the Stanford economics department from 2011 to 2014. As chair, Levin established a vision and strategy to elevate the department and helped recruit two future Nobel laureates and four Clark medalists to Stanford.

Levin is widely recognized for his scholarship in industrial organization and market design. His research has spanned topics ranging from incentive contracts to game theory to e-commerce, consumer lending, and health care competition. He helped design the first Advance Market Commitment that accelerated the global adoption of pneumococcal vaccine. He also helped design the Federal Communication Commission’s $20 billion incentive auction to convert broadcast television spectrum to broadband wireless licenses. He has advised technology companies building online marketplaces and advertising systems.

Levin has also been active in public service. In 2021, Levin was invited by President Biden to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In this role, he has studied problems ranging from the modeling and predicting of extreme weather to the prospects of AI for scientific discovery, and from cyber-physical resilience to the future of the social sciences.

Levin became dean of the Graduate School of Business in 2016. Under his leadership, the school made important advances in multiple strategic areas.

First, it made significant investments in its research and teaching mission, including the creation of the GSB Research Hub to provide shared resources for empirical and experimental work, and the Teaching and Learning Hub to support curriculum development, educational technology, and experiential learning. The school significantly increased faculty research funding, redesigned student fellowships to be need-based, and expanded its distinctive academic-practitioner teaching model, among other efforts.

Second, the school expanded its educational reach. It has extended its footprint in executive and online education, including significant growth of the flagship online LEAD program for mid- to senior-level professionals. The school has made significant strides with Stanford Seed, which educates entrepreneurial leaders in the developing world; the King Center on Global Development, established in 2017 in partnership with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research; and by initiating Stanford Global Economic Forums in Beijing and Singapore. This year, the GSB introduced the new Stanford Pathfinder classes for undergraduates across the university.

Third, during Levin’s tenure as dean, the school launched a major new initiative around Business, Government, and Society. The initiative addresses how business intersects with societal issues, such as sustainability, the effects of technology, the strength of democratic institutions, and global politics. It has led to new classes, research grants, workshops for students, a faculty-led effort on artificial intelligence, and new partnerships between the GSB and Stanford’s other schools and institutes.

What Presidential Search Committee members say about Jon Levin

Debra Satz, member of the Presidential Search Committee and dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences: “As dean of the Graduate School of Business, Jon has emphasized the highest standards of research and integrity and modeled a love of learning. With his experience leading the GSB and his background as a faculty member in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Jon also brings a broad understanding of Stanford’s approach to undergraduate education, doctoral programs, and graduate professional education.”

Gene Sykes, MBA ’84, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee and trustee: “Jon brings an incredible intellect, with deep knowledge not only in his own field of economics, but in health care, public policy, business, and education. He has remarkable analytical skills and a demonstrated ability to engage across a wide range of complex issues. Jon also understands and appreciates the best parts of Stanford and is committed to the university’s success. He is uniquely prepared to lead this university.”

Carson Smith, BA ’19, JD ’25, graduate student member of the Presidential Search Committee: “Jon is warm and authentic: he knows how to relate to people and build community. In all of our interactions, I consistently felt heard and understood. He is also a Stanford alum who really understands the university’s culture – he brings a sense of Stanford irreverence and fun, which I know students will welcome.”

Julia Abitbol, postdoc member of the Presidential Search Committee: “Jon is deliberate, collaborative, and thoughtful. He embodies Stanford’s core values and the characteristics that we hope our students will emulate.”

Charles Young, BA ’91, MBA ’03, member of the Presidential Search Committee and trustee: “Jon has a fresh point of view, extensive knowledge of the university, and a reach that encompasses government, non-profit organizations, and global business. He has proven himself in his high-profile role leading the Graduate School of Business. He has breadth, curiosity, optimism, and humanity – a wonderful formula for our next president.”

Patrick Dunkley, member of the Presidential Search Committee and vice provost for institutional equity, access, and community: “Jon has a clear appreciation for the value of Stanford’s leadership in higher education and how to enhance that value in furtherance of the critical role higher education plays in our society. He also has a clear vision for a pluralistic Stanford community where each stakeholder group, staff, faculty, students, and alumni play a meaningful role, and where the collective whole is greater than the sum of the parts. His vision aligns quite nicely with the IDEAL strategic plan, and I look forward to partnering with him on the IDEAL initiative and supporting him in his new role more broadly.”

A commitment to different perspectives has also been a core tenet of the school. The GSB degree programs increased their outreach efforts and significantly increased the representation of women and historically under-represented groups. Today, the GSB student population is the most diverse in the school’s history. Specific programs have also been created, including the Building Opportunities for Leadership Diversity (BOLD) Fellows Fund for students of backgrounds with financial hardship, and the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, which has educated more than 1,000 entrepreneurial business leaders.

“Stanford is a place of unbridled optimism, of exploration and innovation,” said Jennifer Aaker, PhD ’95, a member of the Presidential Search Committee and the General Atlantic Professor at the GSB. “It’s a place where anything is possible – where you can excel in academics and athletics, pursue entrepreneurship with integrity, combine intellectual rigor with irreverence. Jon loves Stanford, and he understands this central truth about the university: that it is a place of possibility. He is the right person to not only envision where Stanford should go, but to take us there. He’s also pro-fun.”

With Levin’s appointment as president, a search will be undertaken by the provost for his successor as dean of the Graduate School of Business.

Depth of knowledge, breadth of experience

Levin’s career as a student, faculty member, and academic leader touches many disciplines across the university. He was both an undergraduate, and faculty member, in Stanford’s School of Humanities & Sciences. During his 16 years in Stanford’s Department of Economics, he worked closely with undergraduates, and advised nearly 50 PhD dissertations. He chaired the university committee on undergraduate admissions and financial aid, served on the university budget group, and in both 1994 and 2012 participated in major university reviews of undergraduate education. As dean of the business school, he adds a deep knowledge of professional education and student life, along with overseeing a highly interdisciplinary faculty, search committee members said.

Jonathan Levin stands with another person, laughing.

Credit: Saul Bromberger

“Jon embodies the character and values I aspire to emulate as a future Stanford graduate,” said Senkai Hsia, the undergraduate member of the Presidential Search Committee. “As an undergraduate alum himself, Jon gets the irreverent spirit of exploration and exuberance that makes Stanford special. He is admired by students at the Graduate School of Business, and I know he will love engaging with students across the university. Jon will boldly lead Stanford into a bright future.”

Levin’s awards and honors include membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Fulbright Scholar; Sloan Research Fellow; recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, recognizing the outstanding American economist under the age of 40; and recipient at Stanford of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Department of Economics Teaching Prize.

Levin is married to Amy Levin, a physician. They have three children.

A list of previous Stanford presidents is available here.

For more information

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