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The Purposeful University

After celebrating Stanford’s 125 years of innovation in education and research, now is the time to ask what new challenges and opportunities lie before us in the years ahead. Working together to develop a bold vision for Stanford’s future, guided by our purpose and courage, our potential is unlimited.

Our Grand Experiment Continues

The Area Steering Groups (ASGs) have completed white papers for the Executive Cabinet which summarize the more than 2,800 ideas submitted from students, faculty, staff, academic staff, postdocs and alumni. Every idea and proposal that came in was read and reviewed by one or more of the steering groups. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the 100+ members of the steering groups who worked so hard to create the white papers.

The white papers reflect big themes – reimagining learning, pursuing promising new areas of research where we have an opportunity to lead, developing innovative and flexible ways of addressing problems in the world. The sense of our responsibility to the broader world comes through strongly in the papers. The ideas reflected in the white papers also convey priorities about caring for the people in our community and efficient and effective use of university resources.

The white papers summarize diverse voices in our community and do not represent a single point of view or an agreed-upon plan for the future of the university. Nor do they reflect choices between different ideas that were submitted. The papers are simply an effort to coherently present the wide range and large volume of ideas offered by our community. Ultimately, the future vision of the university will reflect considerations of: university’s core mission, values and culture, the ideas and insights received from the campus community, our alumni, trustees and external thought leaders, and the needs of our local community, our nation and the world.


What's Next?

We want to continue the spirit of collaboration that generated so many thoughtful ideas. 

  • We have posted all of the white papers for review by the campus community. 
    View all ASG white papers (campus community only)
  • Members of the campus community may submit comments on the steering group papers through March 2nd by sending an email to
  • There also will be several community gatherings for discussion of the white papers. View Events
  • The Executive Cabinet will continue its review of the white papers, along with the individual ideas and proposals and comments from the community, to build a framework for a high-level vision of the university's future. The work to create a high-level vision will be shared with the Board of Trustees later this spring, and then with the Stanford community.

​We feel more optimistic than ever about the future of Stanford and look forward to the continuing engagement of our campus community in this unfolding process.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne                 Persis Drell

President                                       Provost


 Synthesis by EC NOVEMBER-MAY

Thank you to all members of the community who submitted ideas!

31.9% Staff; 27.6 Faculty; 27.3%Students; 8.7%Academic Staff; 4.5% PostDocs

LRP Bar chart

…live such lives that it will be said of you that you are true to the best you know. I hope your lives will be truly earnest, not in the sense of going forth to acquire great wealth and great names; but to be conscientious workers, to be helpful to others, to send cheer and goodwill to those who need lifting up…
Jane Stanford