Bravman will leave Stanford

April 13, 2010, 1:04 a.m.
Bravman will leave Stanford
John Bravman, a University fixture, entertains freshman at the President's Reception. Bravman will leave Stanford to become the 17th president of Bucknell University. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education John C. Bravman ‘79 M.S. ‘81 Ph.D. ’85, a veteran of thirty five years on the Farm, said Monday he will leave Stanford this year to become the 17th president of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.

Provost John Etchemendy will look within the University for someone to replace Bravman and plans to transition the job over the summer, said University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin.

Bravman, 52, made his start at Stanford in 1975 as a freshman in the materials science and engineering department. He stayed in the department as a student for 10 years, earning three degrees, and was appointed as an assistant professor while finishing his doctorate.

By 1996 he was a full professor and department chair. President Gerhard Casper appointed Bravman vice provost in 1999.

Now, effective July 1, he will take the reins at Bucknell, a 3,500-student liberal arts institution in eastern Pennsylvania.

The challenges and opportunities Bravman will face at Bucknell will be on a different scale from those he saw at Stanford. As vice provost, he played a role in the Stanford Campaign for Undergraduate Education, which raised $1.1 billion. When he joins Bucknell, Bravman will inherit a comprehensive fundraising campaign with a $400 million objective.

At Bucknell, Bravman will also set top-level direction for the university, which has a strong focus on the liberal arts and undergraduate education.

“Bucknell University holds a special place in higher education,” Bravman said in a statement on Monday. “I am indebted to my friends and colleagues at Stanford for their mentoring, support and guidance, and for the fundamental role they have played in shaping my core belief in the liberal arts and undergraduate education, a value which Stanford and Bucknell so deeply share.”

In the 35 years Bravman has spent at Stanford, he has left a number of lasting impressions on the University.

It was Bravman who, in 1999, founded Freshman-Sophomore College, where he is still the dean. For 11 years, Bravman, who sports “FroSoCo” on his car’s license plate, has held Friday barbecues for FroSoCo residents in his backyard in the spring and fall and hosted a number of special events for those in the program.

He also created the Stanford Summer Engineering Academy, a four-week program designed to attract a diverse student body to the School of Engineering by preparing high school students from non-traditional backgrounds.

As vice provost, he led the search committees that chose Greg Boardman as vice provost for student affairs and Richard Shaw as dean of admission.

“My choice of him as vice provost for undergraduate education in 1999 was one of the very best decisions I have made,” Casper said in a statement. “He approached his task with commitment, determination and disciplinary breadth ranging from engineering to the humanities, with imagination, and with the ability to rally support for our and for his agenda.”

Throughout his time on the Farm, Bravman has maintained close contact with students. He has spent 20 years as a freshman advisor and has lived among students for 14 years, first as a resident fellow in Yost and now as the dean of Freshman-Sophomore College. He won the University’s highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores Award, in 1989.

In a statement, President Hennessy lauded Bravman’s contributions to the University in all his different roles.

“John Bravman has been a treasured member of the Stanford community for nearly 35 years, first as an outstanding student, then as a faculty member, and finally as a university leader,” Hennessy said. “During that time he has been a distinguished researcher, one of our most highly regarded and sought-after teachers, and an energetic and admired leader.”

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