Presidential Search Committee provides criteria

The Presidential Search Committee announced various criteria Monday that they will be considering when choosing the next University president. 

In an update from the committee, co-chairs Bonnie Maldonado ’81, Lily Sarafan ’03 and Gene Sykes ’84, shared several criteria they were looking for in the next president, synthesized from samples of community opinions throughout the fall quarter. 

Following former Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s resignation in July, the Stanford Presidential Search Committee was established in September to search for a new president. Since then, the committee has spent time “reflecting on the insights of the community,” through surveys and more than 50 listening sessions, according to the update. 

“Ultimately, this step has placed us in a very good position, giving sharper definition to the needs for the role and providing momentum as we move into the next phase of our search,” the statement read. “To those who shared their perspectives — we are deeply grateful.”

The feedback determined that the “next president must prioritize excellence in research, education and clinical care” to solve problems in today’s world. 

Community input also highlighted proficiency in addressing academic freedom and free speech while sustaining a conducive environment as an area of priority. The feedback received also advocated for the protection of free thoughts and challenging ideas by directly addressing the nuance of free speech and a safe environment.

The community feedback also noted that student investment by the University’s next president was also particularly important, as well as “affirming Stanford’s historic spirit of optimism, curiosity, grit, boldness and fun, preserving and elevating that combination which has made Stanford unique.” 

Community members also emphasized that maintaining the University’s international influence on issues related to higher education and affirming the need for Stanford as a research institution were of importance. 

The co-chairs said that based on community responses, the next president should be an individual with “accessibility, integrity and a balance of emotional and intellectual intelligence.” 

The next phase in the search will be “necessarily confidential,” the committee co-chairs said. Students are still able, however, to provide additional feedback through email, they said.