Letter from the President

OUR CHALLENGE
Standing Still Means Falling Back

By Gerhard Casper



On many days, I receive 30 or more letters from alumni, and if anyone doubts Stanford’s intellectual diversity, they need only examine the myriad - and conflicting - opinions contained in them. One letter accuses the university of slipping into a “mire of multiculturalism” while another asserts, “It is time for me to stand up and be counted, as a 67-year-old graduate who is proud of her university’s efforts to promote diversity.” Sometimes the language in these letters is extreme (“I was horrified . . .” “I am shocked . . .”), while others write because they are positive and enthusiastic. Nearly all express a sense of urgency about the fate of the university.

President 
Gerhard CasperThis correspondence underscores a key point: Universities are among the most complex institutions in the contemporary world, and they are now placed under great scrutiny. One of my responsibilities as president is to be concerned for Stanford’s reputation and to ensure that our main tasks are not ignored, either by us or by others.

There is broad agreement about Stanford’s high standing, among our peers and knowledgeable observers around the globe. It is worth noting several concrete indicators of the quality of the two most important groups at any university - our faculty and students.

President’s Letter (Plain text)

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MARCH/APRIL 1996

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