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Stanford Appoints GSB Dean Jonathan Levin ’94 as President

    Jonathan Levin ’94, currently dean of the Graduate School of Business (GSB), will become Stanford University’s next president on August 1, according to a Thursday statement by the Presidential Search Committee.

    “I’ve spent more than half of my life at Stanford,” Levin stated in an interview with The Daily. “My children grew up on the Stanford campus and attended numerous events and sports games. I’m excited to explore all of the University’s many areas.”

    Levin, 51, will succeed President Richard Saller, who served on an interim basis after Marc Tessier-Lavigne resigned. His nomination comes amid leadership changes at leading colleges around the country, as well as increased political scrutiny of Stanford’s free speech, antisemitism, and Islamophobia policies. Levin’s role as president will include overseeing University affairs and fundraising, as well as establishing institutional priorities.

    “As I look to Stanford’s future, I’m excited to strengthen our commitment to academic excellence and freedom; to foster the principles of openness, curiosity, and mutual respect; and to lead our faculty and students as they advance knowledge and seek to contribute in meaningful ways to the world,” Levin said in a statement to The Stanford Report.

    The presidential search committee co-chairs, Bonnie Maldonado M.D. ’81, Lily Sarafan ’03, and Gene Sykes MBA ’84, stated in the announcement that they were “thoroughly impressed by Jon’s personal qualities of integrity, humility, thoughtfulness, and optimism.” We are sure that he is the appropriate person to not just imagine where Stanford may go, but also to lead us there.”

    Over seven months, the search committee’s 20 members interviewed candidates and held more than 50 listening sessions on campus. The committee received over 800 nominations for the position, the co-chairs stated.

    Levin, who has been the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Business since 2016, was unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees. The announcement referred to his work at Stanford and in public policy — he has been a member of President Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for the past three years.

    His work in microeconomics and industrial organization has earned him several prizes, including the John Bates Clark Medal in 2011 for an excellent economist under the age of 40. The Clark Medal is commonly referred to as the “Baby Nobel” because many of its winners go on to become Nobel laureates.

    Levin was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and is the son of Richard Levin, the former Yale University president and economist who led the university from 1993 to 2013. Despite his early introduction to economics, Levin pursued English and mathematics as an undergraduate. He went on to get an MPhil from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from MIT, both in economics.

    After opting to pursue a career in academia, Levin returned to Stanford as a lecturer in 2000. He served as chair of the economics department from 2011 to 2014.

    With Levin’s appointment, Stanford hopes to offer fresh stability to the University’s leadership. Interim President Richard Saller took over this year after former President Marc Tessier-Lavigne resigned in August. Tessier-Lavigne’s departure came after a Daily investigation revealed concerns about the studies he oversaw. A university report discovered multiple obvious manipulations in Tessier-Lavigne’s neuroscientific studies that he neglected to remedy, as well as a laboratory culture in which he tended to promote those who produced positive results while marginalizing those who did not.

    The investigation stated that there was no evidence that Tessier-Lavigne changed the data in the publications reviewed, or that he was aware of the modification at the time.

    Tessier-Lavigne’s resignation was followed by changes in other University positions, including those of the vice provost for student affairs and vice provost for education.

    Saller’s temporary term was marked by heated debate on campus — including tensions between students and administration — over the continuing Israel-Gaza conflict. He worked closely with Provost Jenny Martinez, who was previously dean of Stanford Law School and was appointed to succeed Persis Drell after her retirement last November.