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Hennessy to meet with Obama today


Stanford's Palm Drive. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

University President John Hennessy is set to meet with President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley business leaders this evening at a private dinner peppered with Stanford connections.

Obama will talk with the group about “our shared goal of promoting American innovation, and discuss his commitment to new investments in research and development, education and clean energy,” according to the White House.

The meeting comes after University officials said Thursday that Stanford may build an engineering campus in New York City as part of the city’s bid to attract more technology companies and jobs.

The dinner is set for the home of venture capitalist John Doerr, The New York Times reported Thursday afternoon. Doerr lives in Woodside, Calif., according to Forbes, about 15 minutes north of Stanford off Highway 280. Along with Hennessy, Doerr serves on Google’s board of directors. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is also on the guest list.

The White House has not released the location of the dinner, but Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin ruled campus out as a possible location Thursday afternoon. Stanford police have not been asked to help with traffic control by any neighboring departments, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Bill Larson. Atherton police are to provide some mutual aid to Redwood City or Millbrae in connection to the visit, the Menlo Park Almanac reported.

Many attendees or their companies have made major donations to Stanford, including Facebook CEO Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Jobs, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Genentech chairman Art Levinson. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is also set to attend.

And like Stanford, Obama is a favored recipient of Silicon Valley donations: workers at the valley’s top 20 firms gave Obama $1.4 million in 2008, far outpacing fundraising for John McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Two alumni will also be on hand: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who earned a master’s degree in computer science in 1988, and venture capitalist Steve Westly, who graduated in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in history and went on to get an M.B.A. in 1983.

Air Force One is set to arrive at San Francisco International Airport on Thursday at 5:45 p.m. before the 6:45 p.m. event, which is closed to the press. On Friday, Obama will visit Intel Corp.’s semiconductor manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Ore.

Obama was last in the Bay Area in October for a Democratic fundraiser at the Palo Alto home of Google vice president Marissa Mayer ’97 M.S. ’99.

Elizabeth Titus was editor in chief of Volume 238 of The Stanford Daily, serving from July 2010 to January 2011. Contact her at