Year in Review

President Barack Obama addresses Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford

2015: The Year in Review

Among the significant events that occurred at Stanford during 2015 were the following:


  • Senior Sophie Miller is awarded a Churchill Scholarship.
  • Two are named American Physical Society fellows: Kenneth Goodson (Mechanical Engineering) and Peter Rowson (SLAC).
Sophie Miller

Sophie Miller


  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan presides over the Stanford Law School’s Moot Court.
  • Stanford’s Earth Sciences school becomes the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences to better reflect its research and teaching mission.
  • Senior Geo Saba and medical student Karen Hong are awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships.
  • President Barack Obama addresses a Memorial Auditorium audience during the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, held on campus.
  • James Bjorken shares the Wolf Prize in Physics.
  • Two are elected to the National Academy of Engineering: Jens Norskov (SLAC) and Bernd Girod (Electrical Engineering).
Justice Elena Kagan

Justice Elena Kagan


  • Alumni Bret Comolli, executive chairman of Asurion Corp., and Angela Filo, founder of the Yellow Chair Foundation, are elected to the Board of Trustees.
  • Sam Wineburg is elected to the National Academy of Education.
Angela Filo

Angela Filo


  • The campus converts to a state-of-the-art energy system that relies on renewable electricity and makes Stanford one of the most energy-efficient research universities in the world.
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter delivers the Drell Lecture.
  • Oprah Winfrey is the Rathbun Visiting Fellow and delivers “Harry’s Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life” in Memorial Church.
  • Senior Alfred Delena is named a Truman Scholar.
  • Ten faculty members become members in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Liran Einav (Economics), David Grusky (Sociology), Kenji Hakuta (Education), Peter Klenow (Economics), Brian Kobilka (Cardiology), Nicholas McKeown (Computer Science), Milbrey McLaughlin (Education), Douglas Rivers (Political Science), Michael Snyder (Genetics) and Johan van Benthem (Philosophy).
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at Stanford and hails a new partnership with the Stanford Biodesign program.
  • Nine faculty members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences: Joseph Berry (Carnegie Institution), Daniel Fisher (Applied Physics), Matthew Jackson (Economics), Aharon Kapitulnik (Applied Physics), Margaret Levi (Political Science), Zhi-Xun Shen (Physical Sciences), Stephen Shenker (Physics), Lawrence Steinman (Neurology and Neurological Sciences) and Shoucheng Zhang (Physics).
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey


Andrei Linde

NCAA champions


  • Eleven Stanford students and alumni win awards from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
  • President John Hennessy announces he will step down after more than 15 years.
  • NBC news foreign correspondent and Stanford alumnus Richard Engel delivers the Commencement Address and civil rights veteran Vernon Jordan the Baccalaureate Address.
Richard Engel gives commencement speech

Richard Engel


  • An instrument designed by Stanford researchers is on board NASA’s New Horizons as it soars past Pluto and its five moons.
  • Professor Daniel Schwartz is the new dean of Graduate School of Education.
  • The Board of Trustees elects four new members: Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co.; Dipanjan "DJ" Deb, chief executive officer of Francisco Partners FP; Bradley A. Geier, co-managing partner of Merlone Geier Partners; and Christy MacLear, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
New Horizons

New Horizons


  • The Branner Earth Science Library & Map Collections, once the private library of Stanford’s first geology professor, John Casper Branner, turns 100 years old.
Maps Collection

Maps Collection turns 100


  • Polly Courtice wins Stanford’s Bright Award, which recognizes people who make unheralded contributions to environmental sustainability.
  • English professor Tobias Wolff is awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
  • Christopher Re, assistant professor of computer science, is named a MacArthur Fellow.
  • Provost John Etchemendy names eight faculty members Bass Fellows in recognition of their contributions to undergraduate education: Mark Applebaum (Music), Russell Berman (Comparative Literature, German Studies), Larry Diamond (Freeman Spogli Institute), Zephyr Frank (History), Chris Gerdes (Mechanical Engineering), Elizabeth Hadley (Biology), Rob Reich (Political Science) and Gregory Walton (Psychology).
Christopher Re

Christopher Re


  • The McMurtry Building, home to Art & Art History, is dedicated.
  • The O’Donohue Family Stanford Education Farm, part of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, is dedicated.
  • Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. national security adviser, warns that the world faces catastrophic climate change unless action is taken.
  • School of Medicine faculty Glenn Chertow (Nephrology), Amato Giaccia (Radiation Oncology) and Robert Harrington (Medicine) are elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
McMurtry Building is dedicated

McMurtry Building


  • Karl Deisseroth, professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is awarded a $3 million Breakthrough Prize in life science for his pioneering work in optogenetics.
  • “Thinking Big About Learning” kicks off the university’s celebration of the 125th anniversary of its opening.
  • English professor Adam Johnson wins the 2015 National Book Award for fiction for Fortune Smiles.
  • Senior Alejandro Ruizesparza is named a 2016 Marshall Scholar.
  • Nine faculty members are elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Karlene Cimprich (Chemical and Systems Biology), Gerald Crabtree (Pathology, Developmental Biology), Stephen Galli (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology), John Huguenard (Neurology and Neurological Sciences), Steven Kahn (Physics), Calvin Kuo (Hematology), Beverly Mitchell (Oncology, Hematology), Hugh O’Brodovich (Pediatrics) and Thomas Rando (Neurology and Neurological sciences).
Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson


  • The Cardinal wins the NCAA men's soccer national championship for the first time in 100 years.