In keeping with its history of finding new leadership within, Stanford University yesterday tapped Provost John L. Hennessy to take over as president beginning 1 September. Hennessy, who succeeds Gerhard Casper, is expected to place the university in a strong position to reel in donations from supporters who have struck it rich in neighboring Silicon Valley.
Hennessy, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is also a Silicon Valley entrepreneur; he founded MIPS Technologies, which specializes in microprocessor production. He was also instrumental last year in securing a $150 million donation from Netscape founder Jim Clark, who worked down the hall from Hennessy when both were Stanford professors. As president, Hennessy's early priorities are expected to include expanding interdisciplinary research opportunities and ensuring that faculty members and students can find affordable housing in the region's white-hot housing market.
Initial reaction to the pick was glowing. "I'm thrilled," says Richard Zare, a Stanford chemistry professor and former chair of the National Science Board. Zare says Hennessy's background in both academia and high-tech industry made him "the obvious natural choice."