Hennessy receives Gibbons Professorship

October 2016

Excerpted from Dean Drell's announcement:
President Emeritus John L. Hennessy has been appointed as the inaugural James F. Gibbons Professor in the School of Engineering. This chair was established with an endowed gift from James and Lynn Gibbons. The chair carries with it a preference for faculty who have demonstrated leadership and show leadership potential that will serve the ideals of Stanford University.

John joined Stanford's faculty in 1977 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. From 1983 to 1993, he was director of the Computer Systems Laboratory. He served as chair of the computer science department from 1994 to 1996, and later that year was named dean of the School of Engineering. In 1999, he was named provost before serving as Stanford University president from 2000 to 2016.

A pioneer in computer architecture, John and a team of researchers developed the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), a technology that revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing costs. During a sabbatical leave from Stanford in 1984, he co-founded MIPS Computer Systems (now MIPS Technologies), which designs microprocessors. John co-authored two widely used textbooks on computer architecture: Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface and Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach.

John received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University in 1973 and a master's degree and PhD in computer science from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, in 1975 and 1977, respectively.

He has served on the boards of directors at Cisco Systems since 2002 and Google since 2004, and was on the Atheros board of directors from 1998 to 2010.

John is a recipient of many awards, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal of Honor, the Founders Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award from the IEEE Computer Society. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow at the IEEE, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Computer History Museum.

John's far-reaching impact on engineering, his visionary leadership in transforming higher education, and his commitment to preserving and enhancing Stanford's excellence as one of the world's leading research and teaching institutions make him a quintessential leader and the ideal match for this endowed chair.


Please join us in congratulating John!