Jonathan Levin, Dean of Business School, Is Stanford’s New President

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Stanford University’s next president will be Jonathan Levin, an economist who currently serves as dean of the graduate business school and whose association with the university dates back to his undergraduate days in the 1990s.

Dr. Levin’s selection, announced on Thursday, was based partly on his deep understanding of the university’s culture, the school said.

His appointment is also viewed as a stabilizing force, as Stanford faces turmoil stemming from protests over the Israel-Hamas war, as well as controversy over a predecessor, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who resigned as president last summer amid questions about the quality of scientific research that was conducted in labs he supervised.

Jerry Yang, the technology entrepreneur who is the chair of Stanford’s board of trustees, said that the selection committee chose Dr. Levin, 51, as someone who could chart a course for the university during these politically fraught times.

The trustees held dozens of listening sessions, Mr. Yang said. “People wanted someone with a very distinguished academic record, somebody who has a deep familiarity with Stanford, understanding our spirit and culture,” he said on Thursday. “And they wanted someone with deep integrity.”

In choosing Dr. Levin, who serves on a White House advisory panel on science and technology, Stanford’s 20-member search committee also picked someone steeped in the world of academia.

Dr. Levin holds multiple degrees, has served on Stanford’s faculty since 2000 and is the son of the former Yale University president Richard Levin.

After obtaining undergraduate degrees in math and English from Stanford, Dr. Levin received his master’s degree from the University of Oxford, and then obtained a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was chair of Stanford’s economics department before becoming dean of the business school in 2016.

His research has been wide-ranging, covering topics such as early admissions at selective colleges, subprime lending and the impact of financial incentives on health and health care delivery. As dean, Dr. Levin has promoted educating business entrepreneurs in developing countries through a program called Stanford Seed.

In an interview on Thursday, shortly after his selection was made public, Dr. Levin did not comment directly on the scandal involving Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, but he did address another controversial topic on the Palo Alto, Calif., campus: free speech.

Referring to an address he gave at a faculty Senate hearing this year, Dr. Levin repeated his comments that universities should “get out of the business of making statements on current events.” Instead, he said, “we should focus on encouraging students to listen to different perspectives and engage in dialogue and form their own opinions.”

After campus protests erupted over the Israel-Hamas war, the university’s interim president, Richard Saller, said in January said the university would refrain from making statements about national and international affairs unless they directly affected the university and its missions. But the declaration of institutional neutrality has not subdued campus controversies.

Just this week, the university became the defendant in a lawsuit by a former instructor, Ameer Hasan Loggins, who is Black and Muslim. The lawsuit accuses Stanford of discrimination because it dismissed Mr. Loggins over a lecture on colonialism several days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Even before the campus protests, the university was the focus of a free-speech battle when student protesters heckled Stuart Kyle Duncan, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit who had come to speak with the university chapter of the Federalist Society.

Dr. Levin will take over as Stanford’s 13th president in August, succeeding Dr. Saller, a scholar of Roman history who began serving as interim president last September after the resignation of Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, a neuroscientist.

Dr. Tessier-Lavigne stepped down after a university report last summer found flaws in studies that he had supervised, going back decades.

But the review, conducted by an outside panel of scientists, refuted the most serious claim involving his work — that an important 2009 Alzheimer’s study was the subject of an investigation that found falsified data, and that Dr. Tessier-Lavigne had covered it up.


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