Board of Trustees hears from school deans, approves new buildings

Dec. 7, 2016, 7:06 p.m.

At its December meeting, the Board of Trustees heard presentations on Stanford’s three schools serving both undergraduate and graduate students and approved the next stages of five construction projects.

Board members listened to deans from the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, the School of Engineering and the School of Humanities and Sciences discuss “strengths and weaknesses of the schools,” said Steven Denning M.B.A. ’78, chair of the board. Harry Elam, vice provost for undergraduate education, also spoke to trustees on Stanford’s undergraduate program as a whole.

While Denning declined to discuss specifics of the presentations, he said Elam addressed opportunities as well as future challenges for the University.

“It was really meant as freeform thinking rather than anything that was definitive,” Denning said.

Persis Drell played dual roles at the meeting as both dean of the School of Engineering and successor to Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D. ’82, who departs in February. Board members had dinner with Drell on Sunday evening.

While the Board’s latest session focused more on undergraduate academics, its next meeting in February will feature reports from Stanford’s four graduate-only schools in business, education, law and medicine.

In addition to hearing academic presentations, the Board green-lighted next steps for various construction plans.

Trustees gave design approval to three projects. This included the Denning House, located near Lake Lagunita and Roble Hall, which will function as a central meeting place for Knight-Hennessy Scholars – graduate students from around the world who will study at Stanford as part of a new program launching in 2018. Although scholars will live throughout campus, they will congregate in the Denning House for activities, classes and bi-weekly large-group meals.

Board members also approved the Biomedical Innovation Building, which will consolidate and replace existing facilities in the School of Medicine, as well as a renovation of Frost Amphitheater. The renovation that will expand Frost’s capacity to 7,000, add a new stage area and increase the number of restrooms at the venue from 18 to 92.

“I think it’ll be much more actively used year-round, including in the summer,” Denning said of the planned amphitheater. “It would be a very unique, iconic facility that … is a real addition to the so-called arts district.”

The Board also allowed construction to begin on a building that will bring two interdisciplinary institutes, ChEM-H and the Stanford Neuroscience Institute, together under the same roof. Finally, trustees gave concept and site approval to a new building for the Stanford Department of Public Safety (SUDPS). Denning said the project will improve on 50-year-old, too-small facilities.


Contact Hannah Knowles at hknowles ‘at’

Hannah Knowles is senior staff writer from San Jose who served as Volume 253 Editor-in-Chief. Prior to that, she managed The Daily's news section.

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