Continuing Stanford’s recent run of success in hires and appointments, award-winning Harvard University history professor Niall Ferguson is the latest academic to come to Stanford. Having already been an adjunct senior fellow at the Hoover Institution for the past 10 years, Ferguson will take up a full-time senior fellowship at the University-affiliated think tank.
The prominent Scottish academic and political commentator, who has previously taught at New York University, Oxford, the London School of Economics and the New College of the Humanities, is vacating the Lawrence A. Tisch Professorship of History at Harvard. Ferguson does not plan on immediately taking up a teaching role at Stanford.
“Harvard is a remarkable institution, and I have been more fulfilled here as a teacher and scholar there than at any time in my professional career,” wrote Ferguson in a Facebook post announcing his departure. “I shall miss the intellectual ferment and my many friends there, but this really is a perfect time for me to take a break from the classroom.”
The 51-year-old economic historian has spent the last 12 years at Harvard and is currently working on a biography of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger – of which the first volume, “Kissinger: The Idealist,” was published last month. According to Ferguson, the book is the partial culmination of approximately a decade of work, and he plans to focus on completing the biography during his tenure at Hoover.
“My first task will be to complete the second volume of my biography of Henry Kissinger rather more rapidly than the first,” Ferguson said.
“While I do that, I’ll have the chance to get to know Stanford better and work out how best to contribute to this amazing University,” he added in an email to The Daily.
Over the last 20 years, Ferguson has written 14 books in total and won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History in 1998 for his two-volume history of the Rothschild banking family. He advised Mitt Romney during the 2012 election, and his political, economic and historical writing has been regularly featured in publications such as the Financial Times, the Sunday Telegraph and Newsweek, where he has become a prominent supporter of conservative causes.
“Having had the benefit of his thinking and insights for quite some time, we are fortunate to finally have Niall in-residence at the Hoover Institution. A prolific contributor on history and economics, Niall adds a unique perspective that will continue to benefit our research and the impact we have on public policy,” Hoover Institution director Tom Gilligan said in a statement.
In his own announcement, Ferguson chose to focus on the opportunities he would have at Stanford.
“Harvard is a remarkable institution, and I have been more fulfilled here as a teacher and scholar there than at any time in my professional career,” he wrote. “This is also a chance for me to get a closer view and, I hope, a better understanding of the extraordinary things that are going on at Stanford and in Silicon Valley. The economic historian in me cannot help but be fascinated.”
Ferguson also spoke about the many different academics with whom he hopes to work.
“Stanford has an abundance of world-renowned figures, some of whom I already have the privilege of knowing,” he wrote to The Daily. “I’d be presumptuous to assume they’d want to work with me, so let me just say it will be a huge pleasure to see more of John Cochrane (another new Hoover Senior Fellow), Frank Fukuyama, Ian Morris, Norman Naimark, Condoleezza Rice, John Taylor, Barry Weingast and Michael McFaul. And I could add another dozen names.”
“The history I want to do at Stanford will be interdisciplinary, so I’d expect to get to know other parts of the University, but Hoover will be my HQ,” he added.