Letter from the President
Standing Still Means Falling Back
By Gerhard Casper
n many days, I
receive 30 or more letters from alumni, and if anyone doubts
Stanfords 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
universitys 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.
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
Stanfords reputation and to ensure that our main tasks are not ignored, either
by us or by others.
There is broad agreement
about Stanfords 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.