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Year in Review

2012: The Year in Review

Among the significant events that occurred at Stanford during 2012 were the following:


Gloria Steinem celebrated Ms. Magazine’s 40th anniversary at Stanford
  • Philip Pizzo, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, is awarded the American Pediatric Society’s Howland Medal, the highest honor in pediatric academic medicine.
  • President Obama presents SLAC director emeritus and Nobel laureate Burton Richter with the Enrico Fermi Award, one of the government’s most prestigious awards.
  • Gloria Steinem, co-founder of Ms. magazine, comes to Stanford to celebrate the publication’s 40th anniversary and speak about the future of feminism.
  • Stanford School of Engineering receives a joint $30 million grant with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation.
  • The Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford releases a report that makes 55 recommendations to better prepare students to face the challenges of an ever-changing world.
The Study of Undergraduate Education promises to better prepare students for an ever-changing world


Ramón Saldívar
  • The campus-wide Stanford Challenge announces the raising of $6.2 billion for a new model of interdisciplinary research designed to help scholars contribute solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems.
  • President Obama awards a National Humanities Medal to English and comparative literature Professor Ramón Saldívar for his scholarship, particularly his “bold explorations of identity along the border separating the United States and Mexico.”
  • Steven Denning is elected chair of the Board of Trustees.
  • Steven Gorelick, the Cyrus F. Tolman Professor in Environmental Earth System Science; Peter Glynn, the Thomas W. Ford Professor in the School of Engineering; Helmut Krawinkler, the John A. Blume Professor in the School of Engineering, Emeritus; and Norbert Pelc, professor in radiology and bioengineering, are elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Jaya Maharaj was 15 minutes old when surgeons at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital gave her a pacemaker that saved her life—making her the youngest patient to undergo the procedure.


The Stanford Center at Peking University
  • Stanford opens a research and education center at Peking University in China.
  • The White House announces that President Obama intends to nominate Susanna Loeb, professor of education, to the National Board for Education Sciences and Arthur Bienenstock, special assistant to President Hennessy for federal research policy, to the National Science Board.


Andrew Luck
School of Engineering graduate Andrew Luck became the first overall pick in the NFL draft
  • Nine Stanford professors and a university trustee are among 220 members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Ann Arvin (Pediatrics), Ben Barres (Neurobiology), Michael Bratman (Philosophy), Philip Bucksbaum (Physics), Steven Kahn (SLAC), Stuart Kim (Developmental Biology), Liqun Luo (Biology), Penny Pritzker (alumna and trustee), Jeffrey Ullman (Engineering) and Andrew Walder (Sociology).
  • Andrew Luck is selected first overall in the NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, and Nneka Ogwumike is selected first in the WNBA draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
  • Bill Gates speaks to a capacity crowd about the need for scientists and engineers to focus on products that help improve the lives of the world’s poor, even though the market directs people to help the wealthiest.
  • W.S. Di Piero, professor emeritus of English, wins the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, recognizing a lifetime of achievement.


Alumna Jennifer Brokow and her father, journalist Tom Brokaw, were among the speakers at TedXStanford
  • Six Stanford scholars are elected to the National Academy of Sciences: Karl Deisseroth (Bioengineering and Psychiatry), Carol Dweck (Psychology), James Fearon (Political Science), Christopher Garcia (Molecular and Cellular Physiology), Liqun Luo (Neurobiology) and Robert Tibshirani (Health Research and Policy).
  • President John Hennessy announces the launch of a $1 billion Campaign for Stanford Medicine to transform health care at a local, national and global level.
  • Stanford hosts TEDxStanford: Illumination, an all-day event that celebrates innovation and ideas worth spreading.
  • Turkish President Abdullah Gül visits Stanford Graduate School of Business and praises the university for its technological innovations in helping expand democracy around the world.
  • Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at the Graduate School of Business about his African Governance Initiative.
  • Former Stanford President Richard Lyman dies at age 88.
  • Marcus Feldman, the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor in Humanities and Sciences, and William Newsom, professor of neurobiology, are elected to the American Philosophical Society.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker at Commencement with Provost John Etchemendy and President John Hennessy
  • Stanford alumnus and Mayor of Newark, N.J., Cory Booker encourages students to join a conspiracy of love and work together in his speech at the 121st Commencement ceremony.


Bernard Muir
Bernard Muir, Stanford's Jaquish and Kenninger Director of   Athletics
Mary Elizabeth Magill
Law School Dean Mary Elizabeth Magill
  • Lloyd Minor, provost of Johns Hopkins University, is named dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine.
  • Thirty-nine Stanford athletes representing 14 sports compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games, returning with 16 medals.
  • Psychologist Albert Bandura is recognized with a Lifetime Career Award from the International Union of Psychological Science.
  • Mary Elizabeth Magill, vice dean of the University of Virginia Law School, is named dean of the Stanford Law School.
  • Bernard Muir is named the director of Stanford athletics.


The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012
  • More than 1,000 people gather to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
  • Physics Professor Andrei Linde is awarded the Fundamental Physics Prize—worth $3 million—in recognition of his work developing cosmic inflation theory.
  • Computer scientist John Mitchell is named vice provost for online learning.
  • Eavan Boland, director of Stanford’s Creative Writing Program, wins a PEN Award for creative nonfiction with her collection of essays A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet.
  • Physicist Shoucheng Zhang is awarded the Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics for research on a novel type of matter known as a “topological insulator.”


  • Biochemist James Spudich, the Douglass M. and Nola Leishman Professor of Cardiovascular Disease, receives the 2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.
  • Stanford Law School’s Afghanistan Legal Education Project is awarded a $7.2 million grant from the U.S. State Department to support a collaboration with the American University of Afghanistan to develop a law degree program to train Afghani lawyers.
  • Stephen Quake, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics, receives the 2013 Nakasone Award for “prolific inventions that have advanced biological measurement techniques.”


Al Roth
Nobel Prize winner Al Roth
Brian Kobilka
Nobel Prize winner Brian Kobilka
  • Brian Kobilka, professor and chair of molecular and cellular physiology, wins the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, which he shared with Robert Lefkowitz of Duke for work on G-protein-coupled receptors.
  • Economist Al Roth, who only recently joined the Stanford faculty from Harvard, shares the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on market design.
  • Stanford breaks ground on a first of its kind energy facility that will be key to reducing the campus’ carbon emissions by 50 percent, reducing water use by 18 percent and saving an estimated $300 million over the next 35 years.
  • The Medical Center opens the Jill and John Freidenrich Center for Translational Research.
  • James Spilker Jr., an alumnus and consulting professor, and his wife, Anna Marie Spilker, pledge $28 million, endowing a professorship and naming the new Spilker Engineering and Applied Sciences Building.
  • The Institute of Medicine elects four faculty members: Lloyd Minor, the new dean of the Medical School; Stephen Quake (Bioengineering); David Spiegel (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences); and David Stevenson (Pediatrics).
  • Chi-Chang Kao is named director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, succeeding Persis Drell.
  • The Anderson family is on hand when ground is broken for a building next to the Cantor Arts Center that will house the family’s spectacular collection of post-World War II American art.
The Anderson family at the ground breaking for the new building that will house their collection


  • Recent graduate Rachel Kolb and senior Margaret Hayden are named Rhodes Scholars and will pursue their studies at the University of Oxford next fall.
  • Six scholars are named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Zhenan Bao (chemical engineering), Patricia Burchat (physics), Sarah Donaldson (radiation oncology), Edward Lazear (economics), Thomas Rindfleisch (Lane Medical Library) and Anthony Wagner (psychology and neurosciences).