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Laurene Powell Jobs to join Stanford Board of Trustees

Laurene Powell Jobs MBA ’91, wife of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, has been elected as the newest member of the Stanford Board of Trustees, the University announced this morning in a press release. A leader and founder of nonprofit organizations aimed at advancing social reform efforts, especially in education, Laurene Jobs will start her five-year term on the Board on Oct. 1.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and working at Goldman Sachs, Laurene Jobs first came to Stanford in 1989 as a business school student. Here, she met her future husband, Steve Jobs, when he gave a lecture as part of the school’s long-running “View from the Top” speaker series.

Despite choosing to keep “a generally low profile” and being described as “intensely private,” according to a 2011 San Jose Mercury article, Laurene Jobs has launched a series of successful business and philanthropic ventures over the years. These include Terravera, an organic food company, in 1991; College Track, a nonprofit after-school program aimed at preparing underserved students for college, in 1997; and most recently, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit organization called the Emerson Collective, which collaborates with entrepreneurs to solve social issues in areas like education and conservation. The Emerson Collective is currently working to pass the Dream Act, a federal legislation that would in part help undocumented college students attain U.S. citizenship.

As a result of these philanthropic efforts, President Obama appointed Laurene Jobs to serve on the then-newly established White House Council for Community Solutions in 2010. And this January, First Lady Michelle Obama invited Laurene Jobs to sit in her box for the State Union of Address, with the accompanying press release acknowledging her work with the Emerson Collective.

In March, Forbes Magazine ranked Laurene Jobs as the 13th richest women in the world, with a listed net worth of $9 billion.

Like all members of the Stanford Board of Trustees, Laurene Jobs will serve a five-year term. RoAnn Costin MBA ’81, founder and president of the private Boston-based equity company Wilderness Private Investments, will also begin her term on Oct. 1, as previously announced by the University in August.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the annual budget, determining university policies, and appointing a university president, who also serves as an ex officio member of the board. At its April 16-17 meeting, the Board had 32 members, three short of its 35-member maximum. Since then, the Board has also elected Jeffrey Raikes ’80, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to serve as a member, in addition to Costin and Laurene Jobs.

 

– Kurt Chirbas

  • Toblerone

    Rakies should be Raikes.

  • pol_incorrect

    Interesting, this begins to look like a banana republic, your path to success is to marry a successful husband. It’s not like there is no competition to become part of the Stanford Board of Trustees. It reminds me to those people who talk about Melinda Gates as a powerful woman, sure, powerful sex appeal probably because other than marrying the richest man in the planet, she didn’t have much to contribute on her own. It’s a tale as old as mankind: the real power of women is in their intimate parts.

  • alum

    Will this guarantee a $5 billion increase for the endowment? If so, the pandering will be fully justified.

  • pol_incorrect

    I agree, if this guarantees that the Stanford endowment will be boosted, even by say hundreds of millions of dollars, the decision would be completely justified. That said, given Steve Jobs zero reputation giving money out to charity, I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I truly hope, for the sake of Stanford, that Laurene Powell Jobs proves me wrong.

  • profed

    Would someone ask her to encourage Apple to close its 5 person office in Reno NV used to evade paying taxes in California? The billions in lost revenue cause substantial harm to public elementary, high school, college and graduate school students and families. This is an excellent opportunity for Stanford to exercise leadership and role modeling for its students by refusing endowment donations from Apple until they pay their fair share of CA state corporate income tax. This would be a great opportunity to shed the claim of being an opportunistic admin and faculty who put economic self-interest (startups and SV board positions) ahead of students, especially undergraduate student, teaching and general welfare.

  • pol_incorrect

    Wake up, that’s not going to happen. Liberalism is pure hypocrisy. The reason all these Silicon Valley elites call for the rich paying their fair share is because they know their own wealth will be unaffected. It’s somebody else’s wealth the are asking the government prays on. The Silicon Valley pals despise those who became wealthy through means different from high tech and want government to go after their money. So for Ms Jobs is OK to be pals with the Obamas, she knows that Apple, and thus her own wealth, is well protected.

  • profed

    The only from SV I know of asking apple to pay its fair share of taxes is the President of De Anza College where many Apple employees and their kids take classes. Otherwise SV seems a narcissistic, self-absorbed group interested only in their individual wealth acquisition. It appears my example from Hennessey and tech faculty a whole new generation of these folks are being created. This is most unfortunate and a misuse of the potential societal resource Stanford could be.

  • pol_incorrect

    Two things. First, the vast majority of SV tech execs either give exclusively to Democrats (like Ms Powell-Jobs) or are their advisers (like Eric Schmidt). The democrats is the party of the “fair share”. And they have no problem demonizing the oil industry while they give a pass to Apple even though the oil industry creates more American jobs, both directly and indirectly, than Apple ever will. In addition Apple goes to unimaginable lengths, as you point out, to pay less taxes. All companies try to minimize their tax liability but what Apple does, and Google to to a lesser degree, is a quantum leap with respect to other companies. And yet, these SV pals demonize the oil industry while they give a pass to Apple. Call it cognitive dissonance or whatever, to me is a prime example of ideology clouding critical thinking. Second, that said, I do agree with the Hennessy approach. Technology is liberating. It would be much worse if the humanities guys ruled the place. Today’s humanities, mostly postmodernism garbage, will not get anybody anything except probably suicidal thoughts.

  • partriot

    The issue of humanities and tech simply put is really one of bringing a sense of societal value to what at present is an unbridled tech focus which in our culture creates a situation where the tail (tech) wags the dog (society). The example you raise is one. Apple is so self-absorbed it cares little that by evading paying taxes in CA it is screwing one of it largest consumer groups–all those junior high, HS, college and grad students in public programs. At some point with more awareness among those in public education settings this may come back to “bite” Apple. Google engineers must have been pretty smug developing systems to steal data, both current and stored, from home and business routers but clueless what a huge invasion of privacy this is. Again, most of the public are as yet unaware.

    My thesis is that engineers tend to be myopic and not consider the broad implication of their actions which in many cases are and will be harmful to society. Once tech “advancements” are corporatized the ethics, or lack there of, preclude self-reflection as profit at any cost seems to become the overriding principle. The university culture can provide an opportunity to train/sensitize future tech innovators and CEO’s to the societal impact of their actions. Stanford seems to be squandering this opportunity and in fact greatly exacerbating it by pandering to corporate tech and minimizing a focused balance to tech training, at least thus far.
    How about humanities couses entitled, “Tech evading taxes, corporate and societal implications” or Violating privacy, is it worth it”. We have significant problems beyond what the next iphone screen will be like or next widget–global warming and weather changes, gun violence, educating a workforce not suitable for current jobs–great areas for tech innovation. Is it happening to any substantial degree at Stanford?
    Perhaps the most immediate threat to the public seems to be EMF’s from cell phones, SMART meters, routers. The data seems to be exponentially increasing and pointing to serious adverse tissue changes and disease. The WHO last year classified EMF’s as a likely carcinogen and that data is nearly dated. Apple and Stanford are in a wonderful position to conduct EMF/health research The $50,000,000 Apple recently gave to Stanford or future donations likely forthcoming could be earmarked for EMF safety investigations or will Apple along with the rest of tech function as the tobacco industry did for so long ignoring or suppressing data indicating adverse health effects of smoking?
    Unbridled technology where there is no consideration of its societal impact is lucrative, but far from liberating.

  • pol_incorrect

    I agree with a lot of what you say about balancing a technical education with “something else”; the problem is that the “state of affairs” of humanities education at Stanford (and other similarly rated universities) is appalling, likely to do more harm than good. Education in engineering or other hard scientific fields is all about results that can be measured objectively, thus there is little room for politicking. Those who do politicking in these fields do it at their own peril since good ideas will always trump bad ideas over the long run. Ignore a technological revolution and you’ll become irrelevant pretty quickly. Such a thing is not the case in the humanities, where ideologically driven professors select equally minded pals with no consequences whatsoever. That’s my reference to postmodernism garbage, which is what you are likely to learn if you major at Stanford in the humanities. So, no thank you, it is not worth paying $50K/year to be brainwashed with that crap. Similarly, I applaud the president of the university for creating an environment where engineering/sciences have the upper hand. Sure he is from time to time on record about the value of a liberal education and similar “internal consumption” speeches, but when you see where Stanford is putting its money there is no mistake that the big bet is in engineering and hard sciences (and medicine, which can be seen as an applied field for those disciplines).
    Engineers and scientists are not the soul-less people you depict. Right out of school they might be careless about the larger issues, but over time, they do care. The most important philanthropists of our time are engineers of people with an engineering background (think Bill Gates, or Hewlett and Packard from the previous generation). Incidentally, it’s the Steve Jobs of the world (who have a humanities/liberal arts background) who are the most selfish and less generous. So!

  • partriot

    partriot

  • partriot
  • partriot

    I am not at all suggesting engineers are soulless, but seemingly myopic caught up in the hard science focus they have well learned, as you point out, without balance due to Stanford’s weak humanities programs. Absent a balanced basis for a focus of efforts, technology seems to quickly be co-opted by the voracious profit at any costs appetites of corporations. A tech focus is fine but Stanford, Inc. has adopted a corporate mentality with its quest for a quick buck for faculty from pump and dump startups. The potential economic rewards from Hennessey on down are huge, but as you point out the the potential balance from broader scope non tech courses is paltry and now even watered down more with the “Thinking Matters” afterthought. What disdain evident with a university admin discussion techies and “fuzzies”. Bill Gates is an anomaly with his dedication to the use of technology to improve mankind. I agree technology has the capacity to enrich mankind or likely end it through inadvertent, unexamined effects. Colleges and Universities, especially tech focused ones such as Stanford, MIT, Caltech offer rich and likely the final opportunity for those launching tech careers to learn to broaden their scope enough to appreciate the impact, positive or adverse, of their efforts. What sort of curriculum do you suggest to foster this goal?

  • partriot

    I am not at all suggesting engineers are soulless, but seemingly myopic caught up in the hard science focus they have well learned, as you point out, without balance due to Stanford’s weak humanities programs. Absent a balanced basis for a focus of efforts, technology seems to quickly be co-opted by the voracious profit at any costs appetites of corporations. A tech focus is fine but Stanford, Inc. has adopted a corporate mentality with its quest for a quick buck for faculty from pump and dump startups. The potential economic rewards from Hennessey on down are huge, but as you point out the the potential balance from broader scope non tech courses is paltry and now even watered down more with the “Thinking Matters” afterthought. What disdain evident with a university admin discussion techies and “fuzzies”. Bill Gates is an anomaly with his dedication to the use of technology to improve mankind. I agree technology has the capacity to enrich mankind or likely end it through inadvertent, unexamined effects. Colleges and Universities, especially tech focused ones such as Stanford, MIT, Caltech offer rich and likely the final opportunity for those launching tech careers to learn to broaden their scope enough to appreciate the impact, positive or adverse, of their efforts. What sort of curriculum do you suggest to foster this goal?I am not at all suggesting engineers are soulless, but seemingly myopic caught up in the hard science focus they have well learned, as you point out, without balance due to Stanford’s weak humanities programs. Absent a balanced basis for a focus of efforts, technology seems to quickly be co-opted by the voracious profit at any costs appetites of corporations. A tech focus is fine but Stanford, Inc. has adopted a corporate mentality with its quest for a quick buck for faculty from pump and dump startups. The potential economic rewards from Hennessey on down are huge, but as you point out the the potential balance from broader scope non tech courses is paltry and now even watered down more with the “Thinking Matters” afterthought. What disdain evident with a university admin discussion techies and “fuzzies”. Bill Gates is an anomaly with his dedication to the use of technology to improve mankind. I agree technology has the capacity to enrich mankind or likely end it through inadvertent, unexamined effects. Colleges and Universities, especially tech focused ones such as Stanford, MIT, Caltech offer rich and likely the final opportunity for those launching tech careers to learn to broaden their scope enough to appreciate the impact, positive or adverse, of their efforts. What sort of curriculum do you suggest to foster this goal?

  • pol_incorrect

    First, Bill Gates is not an anomaly. In fact is an example of what I discussed. Many people forget now, but Bill Gates was probably the most vilified high tech entrepreneur ever until he became serious about philanthropy circa 2000-2001. There are numerous other examples. I already mentioned Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, who helped more in transforming Stanford from a fine regional institution into an academic powerhouse than Jobs or the Google guys. Everybody loves winners; but Hewlett/Packard did to Stanford was out of pure love to their alma mater. In general, a quick look at the backgrounds of the founders of the top US foundations by asset size will convince you that the impact of engineers and corporate titans in society’s welfare is both positive and huge http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/topfunders/top100assets.html . And I cannot forget about the Stanfords themselves, who became wealthy out of different businesses. So, what can be done to balance the education Stanford engineers receive? In my opinion, absolutely nothing. The results speak for themselves that over time these people become engaged and generous. Those who complain about the diminishing influence of humanities in the education of Stanford undergrads are really complaining about the fewer opportunities for the humanities professors to brainwash students, which is a good thing. The real question is the opposite, is there anything that can be done to balance the nonsense spewed by the humanities professors at Stanford? Should they be expelled from Stanford for contributing only with poisonous thinking? That’s the real question. The schools of engineering, medicine, business and law subsidize the existence of these useless professors at Stanford. They should be thankful not resentful.

  • partriot

    The point is not philanthropy, though that is laudable to be sure, but harm to society either through by products of the technology, possible if not likely health effects of the additive and cumulative exposure to EMF’s from cell phones, home and university wide routers, microwaves now the soon ubiquitous SMART meters. Where are the Stanford and other engineers confirming, refuting or replicating the studies showing tissue damage from EMF’s? Can that research happen in a culture aligned with corporate tech such as Apple whose product line largely is involved in emitting EMF’s?
    The second area of potential harm is the loss of valuable intellectual resources in those chasing a quick buck to develop yet another widget or another iteration of an existing widget of little societal value. My view is those educating the best and the brightest in tech have an obligation to ideally encourage students to pursue endeavors that have some benefit to others, rather than simply relatively useful endeavors designed for individual short-tern economic gain. The role modeling by faculty from the President on down seems to be counterproductive to producing tech careers that will liberate society as you indicate.

  • pol_incorrect

    With all due respect, your point of view is exactly why I support that the role of humanities is diminished as a result of the last changes to the undergraduate curriculum. Engineers have to be first and foremost good engineers, period. Their strength is their technical competence; producing the most technically able engineers should be, and is!, the first and foremost goal of the school of engineering. As I said, you are ignoring the fact that Stanford engineers are people as well. Overtime, if they have the interest, they will be engaged on non engineering endeavors. And when that happens, they will be better equipped than anybody else to propose solutions. What you cannot expect is to have them brainwashed to worry about saving the planet -or your preferred lost cause- before they have done their work. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard explained these idea very well in this video http://h20621.www2.hp.com/video-gallery/us/en/corporate/company-history/1283949507001/origins-chapter-5-of-15/video/ . Unless you build a company that makes healthy profits, you will not be able to make any other contributions to society at large. How is that the current crop of leaders at HP has forgotten about that is a different matter, but their idea was true then and it is true now: you first become an excellent engineer, then establish a profitable business and lastly worry about whether you can save the planet. That’s the path to success and the humanities types have it all backward. You cannot save the planet unless you have a success to build upon.

  • partriot

    A good engineer is not one who creates a product that is harmful. How do you rationalize Google stealing private data as they roamed the streets shooting Google maps as “good engineering”. I do not know the last word on the health effects of EMF’s, but at this point there seems to be enough data that a “good engineer” would cease to participate in any project producing EMF’s. Terrorism experts indicate SMART meters are vulnerable to attack which can cripple the energy network. Where are the “good engineers” weighing in on this as the changeover from analog to SMART meter continues at breakneck speed. These are but examples. The halcyon days of the 60’s for HP are over, Current technology engineers are producing have potential for widespread harm, yet the “good engineer” response seems to be “I see nothing”. That is not good or sufficient, nor is the university training apparently educating a more responsible engineer.

  • cardcounter

    Somebody has plenty of free time on his hands.

  • pol_incorrect

    Again, BS. Since I am sick and tired of repeating myself, bravo to Stanford for making sure that sick minds like yours don’t get in the way of a good engineering education.

  • pol_incorrect

    Typical liberal bs, when you don’t like the message, shot the messenger.

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