John Doerr, Silicon Valley billionaire, has donated $1.1 billion to Stanford University to establish a new school.
John Doerr, 70, is an investor and venture capitalist from Missouri. He was on the ground floor of Intel Corporation through the 70s, and then went into venture capital funding. His focus on tech companies meant that he rode the success of Compaq, Google, Amazon, and Intuit all the way to the bank. Today, he and his wife Ann are worth an estimated 13 billion, not quite enough to put them in the top hundred richest people in the U.S. They came in at #105 in 2017, according to Forbes.
In 2010, Doerr and wife both signed the Giving Pledge, a non-binding promise to give over half their fortunes to charitable causes within their lifetimes.
On Wednesday, Stanford University announced that Ann and John Doerr had made the largest donation in the history of the Ivy League School – $1.1 billion dollars. The money is meant to establish the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, a multi-discipline program linking eight areas of scholarship: climate change, Earth and planetary sciences, energy technology, sustainable cities, environmentalism, food and water security, human society and behavior, and health and the environment.
Between the $1.1 billion from the Doerrs and $600 million more from other private donors, the school will officially launch in record time, opening to graduate students this coming September. It already has an appointed dean, Arun Majumdar, a Stanford luminary and professor of mechanical engineering.
The school will have 90 faculty initially, taken from Stanford’s existing faculty, with an additional 60 to be added over the next 10 years. It will absorb the existing Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy, as well as the new Institute for Sustainable Societies. A new commons and two new buildings will be built in the Stanford Campus, adjacent to the existent Green Earth Sciences Research Building.