By Fangzhou Liu
Greg Boardman, the vice provost for student affairs, will retire on Aug. 31 after 13 years at Stanford and a rocky past year of student criticism. Provost Persis Drell will announce plans for a search committee early in spring quarter.
As vice provost, Boardman oversees a swathe of services and community centers that affect nearly every aspect of student life, from the Registrar’s Office, which runs course registrations each quarter, to Vaden Health Center. Part of Boardman’s work is coordinating among many branches of Student Affairs. The Trump administration’s executive order on immigration and travel is one example of a campus-wide issue that has involved collaborations across community centers — such as the Bechtel International Center, the Markaz Resource Center and Vaden — in order to address student needs.
“Greg’s devotion to the whole student has been unwavering throughout his career,” former Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D. ’82 said in an interview with Stanford News. “At Stanford, he has championed students’ development as lifelong learners and leaders. He has been a supportive friend and mentor to students and staff, through both happy times and troubled times.”
At the same time, many students associate Boardman with unpopular decisions to restrict hard alcohol at undergraduate parties and residences and to suspend the Stanford Band. Over the past decade, Boardman has also come under fire for issues as varied as mental health services at Stanford and the adjudication process for Honor Code violations — in part due to the wide-ranging responsibilities of the Office of Student Affairs.
In addition to his role as vice provost, Boardman serves on the Stanford Athletics Board, the Stanford Alumni Association Board and the Haas Center for Public Service National Advisory Board. Boardman has spent much of his career in university administration with a special focus on residential programming and campus life.
Since he was appointed to his current post in 2006, Boardman has established various student life-related University divisions such as the Diversity and First-Generation Office, the Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response (SARA) and the Office for Military-Affiliated Communities. Within Student Affairs, Boardman has emphasized long-term planning in communications, resource use and responses to student needs, launching the “Future of Student Affairs” program last spring.
As his time at Stanford draws to a close, Boardman has also pursued new initiatives to bridge the gap between students and the University, such as open office hours with students — an arrangement that Boardman first proposed to the Undergraduate Senate. However, Boardman has had to contend with a student body that some say increasingly sees Stanford’s recent decisions on hard alcohol, sexual assault and Band as symptoms of an administration that values its image over student welfare.
Contact Fangzhou Liu at fzliu96 ‘at’ stanford.edu.