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After director’s decision to step down in 2020, Hoover Institution begins search for successor

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Hoover Institution Director Thomas Gilligan has announced that he will leave his position next year, prompting creation of a search committee to identify potential candidates for the post.

Chaired by Joshua Rauh, director of research and senior fellow at Hoover, the search committee will be comprised of nine other members: three from Hoover, three from the Hoover Board of Overseers — the advisory body to Hoover’s senior administration — and three Stanford affiliates appointed by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. 

The committee members from Hoover are Senior Fellow Scott Atlas, Graduate School of Business (GSB) political economics professor David Brady and Amy Zegart M.A. ’93, Ph.D. ’96, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

From the Hoover Board of Overseers, Susan McCaw ’84, Robert Oster and Joel Peterson have been selected to serve on the committee.

The additional three president-appointed Stanford affiliates have been identified as GSB Dean Jonathan Levin ’94, Law School Dean Jenny Martinez and European studies professor Richard Saller.

Founded in 1919 by 31st U.S. President Herbert Hoover ’1895, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace started out as a library to compile materials related to World War I. The library gradually expanded, becoming a public policy research center and think tank. 

The Hoover Institution has been at the center of heated controversy multiple times since its inception in 1941, with Stanford faculty and alumni criticizing the institution’s politically conservative leaning in the context of its role as a major establishment on campus.

Since becoming the Hoover Institution director in September 2015, Gilligan has been responsible for addressing much of the controversy surrounding the institution. A Faculty Senate meeting last February was focused largely on discussion of Hoover’s role on campus. Gilligan’s successor will inherit the task of navigating the unresolved tensions between critics and defenders of Hoover.

Rauh told Stanford News that the search committee will begin meeting later this summer, and that it intends on forwarding director nominees to Tessier-Lavigne by early 2020. 

Tessier-Lavigne must recommend the selected candidate to the Hoover Board of Overseers and then to the Board of Directors of the Herbert Hoover Foundation. If these groups approve a candidate, that person will then be recommended to the Stanford Board of Trustees for official appointment.

Contact Esther Sun at sune2696 ‘at’ lgsstudent.org.

Esther was a high school intern for The Daily in summer 2019.