Engineering Leadership

STEPPING UP

By David F. Salisbury




BY ALMOST EVERY MEASURE, John Hennessy has been successful in his 43 years: An international reputation for his work in computer architecture, the successful startup of a Silicon Valley company, the chairmanship of a prestigious Stanford department. Forget all that. Hennessy faces his biggest challenge when he succeeds Jim Gibbons as dean of the School of Engineering in June, stepping up to run the school at a time of shrinking financial resources and growing academic and technological demands.

John Hennessy “This is a job you do because once you’ve been at Stanford, your loyalty to the institution and your colleagues gets very large,” Hennessy says. “I’ve gained a lot from this institution. I’d like to give something back.”

The burly, bespectacled computer pioneer may be the perfect person to succeed Gibbons. After all, Hennessy made his mark by designing streamlined, more efficient machines. He brings that considerable experience as a “systems” person, equally adept at hardware and software problems, to bear on managing an enterprise that dwarfs many colleges and companies. And there is no doubt his entrepreneurial experience will come into play as he faces thorny financial issues.

“I think engineering needs to be cognizant of how things are done in industry as well as the academic world,” he says.

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MAY/JUNE1996

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