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Freeman Spogli Institute to establish nuclear security professorship with $5 million


Last month, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) accepted an endowment gift of $5 million from the Stanton Foundation for establishing a professorship in nuclear security. Centered in FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), the professorship will allow Stanford to recruit a renowned scholar for a joint appointment at FSI and one of the University’s seven schools.

“This endowed position enables us to deepen our expertise and broaden our reach in all three areas [of our three-part mission: research, policy impact and teaching],” said Amy Zegart M.A. ’93 Ph.D. ’96, co-director of CISAC. “We’ll be able to offer more courses related to nuclear security and do more research across disciplines at nuclear-related matters, and those two activities will in turn give us even more impact in policy as well.”

This endowment is the second of such funds from the Stanton Foundation to FSI. Neil Penick, associate director for development and external relations at FSI, attributed the support from Stanton as part of an established relationship between the foundation and the Institute.

“We’ve had a very long relationship,” Penick said. “In fact, the Stanton Foundation has supported post-doctoral fellowships for Ph.D. students or recent graduates who have focused on nuclear security in an effort to train the next generation of nuclear specialists. I think what the foundation came to conclude was that they not only needed to focus on the next generation but needed to fund more senior faculty to do the training and mentoring of those young scholars.”

The previous endowment last year had allowed Rodney Ewing ’72 Ph.D. ’74, a leading researcher of nuclear waste from the University of Michigan, to join the School of Earth Sciences and FSI, and, like the first endowment, the second round of funding will be used to bring an additional scholar to the University.

While FSI has not formally opened a search, the Institute has begun conversations about how to conduct the search and about potential candidates. The official search is planned to begin in fall of this year, and Zegart hopes that a chair for the Stanton Foundation Professorship in Nuclear Security will be found by the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

“We’re open with respect to the search,” Zegart said. “There’s a broad range of candidates that we’ll look at and we don’t have any preconceived notions about what disciplines that we’re going to [recruit from].”

Ultimately, administrators believe that the endowment will have beneficial effects to the research environment and beyond on the Stanford campus and in international policy.

“This partnership with the Stanton Foundation really cements CISAC and Stanford and FSI as one of the leading research institutes focused on international security issues,” Penick said. “It’s something we really value and treasure, and we’re grateful for the foundation and their support. We’re very much looking forward to finding the right person to join the team.”

“One of the exciting things about a gift like this is that an endowment has ripple effects across the University and even the country,” Zegart said. “To bring one renowned scholar has exponential benefits for our students who take classes over time, to graduates who will be mentors, to our faculty who will collaborate with them and to international leaders who will be affected by the research that this Stanton chair will generate. There’s potential to impact so many people across a long period of time.”


Contact Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

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Catherine Zaw was formerly the Managing Editor of News for Vol. 245 and Vol. 246. To contact her, please email [email protected]