Marc Tessier-Lavigne Named 11th President of Stanford University


The Stanford trustees announced that Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University and former Stanford faculty member, will be the 11th president. He will assume the role Sept. 1.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University in New York City, will become Stanford University’s 11th president on Sept. 1, the Stanford Board of Trustees announced today.

Tessier-Lavigne, 56, a pioneering neuroscientist, former Stanford faculty member and outspoken advocate for higher education, brings broad academic and administrative experience. Most recently, he has led The Rockefeller University, a premier biomedical research and graduate education institution, for the past five years. He will succeed John L. Hennessy, who announced in June 2015 that he will step down this summer after 16 years as president.

“Marc Tessier-Lavigne brings to Stanford an infectious energy, confident leadership, a distinguished academic record and a lifetime immersed in leading initiatives to develop knowledge for the benefit of humanity,” said Steve Denning, chairman of the Stanford Board of Trustees. “Marc has a sophisticated understanding of the breadth of the Stanford enterprise, the centrality of faculty and students to our mission, and the critical role of the president in preserving and enhancing Stanford’s excellence as one of the world’s great universities. He is an exemplary leader who we believe will continue Stanford’s accelerating trajectory.”

Tessier-Lavigne was the unanimous choice presented to the Board of Trustees by a 19-member Presidential Search Committee that spent the past six months and thousands of hours reviewing prospective candidates in a comprehensive, inclusive global search. The full board unanimously approved the committee’s choice in a special meeting this morning.

“Marc has a remarkable record of achievement,” said Trustee Isaac Stein, who chaired the search committee. “What we have learned through this search, without exception, is that he has made every institution he has touched far better for his presence. He has a unique combination of personal humility and confidence, and we believe his commitment to the excellence of Stanford – in all of its parts – will be a hallmark of his leadership. We are pleased that from a diverse pool of outstanding candidates, we found in Marc a leader who is an ideal match for Stanford today.”

In accepting the presidency, Tessier-Lavigne said, “I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to build on the remarkable legacy of John Hennessy. Stanford has established itself as one of the world’s foremost comprehensive research universities, marked by excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, leadership in scholarship and research across all disciplines, and an unsurpassed culture of innovation and service. It will be a privilege to rejoin the Stanford community and to lead this extraordinary institution.”

Tessier-Lavigne was a professor of biological sciences at Stanford from 2001 to 2005 and held the Susan B. Ford Professorship, having been recruited to the post by President Hennessy. Tessier-Lavigne spent a portion of his Stanford faculty appointment on leave after joining Genentech, Inc.

Tessier-Lavigne has spent more than 20 years in the Bay Area, beginning as an assistant professor of anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco in 1991. He rose to associate and then full professor of anatomy, and of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF, where he earned various teaching honors. He was an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1994 until his transition to Genentech in 2003.

At Genentech, Tessier-Lavigne served in roles of increasing managerial responsibility, including as executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer, overseeing 1,400 scientists focusing on disease research and drug discovery for cancer, immune disorders, infectious diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.

Click here to read more