John L. Hennessy, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, served as President of Stanford University from September 2000 until August 2016. In 2017, he initiated the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, the largest fully endowed graduate-level scholarship program in the world, and he currently serves as Director of the program.

Hennessy joined Stanford’s faculty in 1977. In 1981, he drew together researchers to focus on a technology known as RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer), which revolutionized computing by increasing performance while reducing costs. Hennessy helped transfer this technology to industry cofounding MIPS Computer Systems in 1984. He served as chair of Computer Science, dean of the School of Engineering, and university provost before being appointed as Stanford’s 10th president. As president he focused on increasing financial aid and on developing new initiatives in multidisciplinary research and teaching. He was the founding board chair of Atheros Communications, one of the early developers of Wi-Fi technology, and has served on the board of Cisco and Alphabet (Google’s parent company). He is the coauthor of two internationally used textbooks in computer architecture.

His honors include the 2012 Medal of Honor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the ACM Turing Award (jointly with David Patterson). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Royal Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society. Hennessy earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from the Stony Brook University.