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Innovation spanning more than a century  

From the founding of Stanford in 1891, engineering has been a core of the university's education and research programs. Five of the university's first 15 faculty members were engineering professors and 141 of the university's original 559 students were enrolled in engineering.

The School of Engineering was founded in 1925, and over nine decades Stanford engineers have driven uncounted technological innovations, fostered the development of the technology industry in California, and helped found thousands of companies. 

Former Deans

Each dean in our history has had a major impact on the nature of Stanford Engineering today.


Persis Drell 2014-2017

Persis S. Drell was named Stanford University's 13th provost in February 2017. Previously, she was the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering, the James and Anna Marie Spilker Professor in the School of Engineering and a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Physics at Stanford University. Bio


Jim Plummer 1999-2014

Jim Plummer, the John Fluke Professor of Engineering, was dean of the School of Engineering from 1999 to 2014, the longest-serving dean in school history. He led during an era that included creating a new department, renewing the school’s infrastructure and dramatically increasing the number of students majoring in engineering. Bio »


John Hennessy 1996-1999

John L. Hennessy joined Stanford's faculty in 1977 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. He rose through the academic ranks to full professorship in 1986 and was the inaugural Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 1987 to 2004. 


James F. Gibbons 1984-1996

Professor Gibbons received a BS degree at Northwestern University in 1953 and a PhD from Stanford in 1956. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1957, was appointed professor of electrical engineering in 1964, and dean of the School of Engineering in 1984.


William M. Kays 1972-1984

William M. Kays attended Stanford University and earned three degrees: a BA in engineering, 1942, MS in mechanical engineering, 1947, and a PhD in mechanical engineering, 1951. He worked as a research associate while a student and subsequently joined the faculty in the mechanical engineering department. 


Joseph M. Pettit 1958-1972

Joseph Mayo Pettit was born July 15, 1916, in Rochester, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley where he received his BS degree in electrical engineering in 1938. At Stanford University, he earned the degree of Engineer in 1940 and a PhD in 1942.


Frederick E. Terman 1944-1958

Frederick Terman was the fourth Dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford, serving from 1944-1958, leaving only to become Provost of the University. He is generally credited - along with President Wally Sterling - as leading Stanford to its present position among the top universities of the world.


Samuel B. Morris 1936-1944

Samuel Brooks Morris received his AB in Civil Engineering from Stanford in May 1911. A native of Los Angeles, Morris returned to Southern California following graduation and went to work for the City of Pasadena.


Theodore J. Hoover 1925-1936

Theodore Jesse Hoover, brother of the 31st President of the United States, was born in West Branch, Iowa, on January 28, 1871. He attended Stanford and received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology and Mining in 1901.