Posts Tagged ‘president’

“An Affirmation of Life’s Beauty:” A Letter to President Hennessy on Chi Theta Chi

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The friendly residents of Chi Theta Chi.

The following letter is from Dana Edwards ’14.

Dear President Hennessy,

I lived in Chi Theta Chi this past fall quarter, and I am saddened and taken aback by the university’s move to assume control over the co-op. Dr. Hennessy, I respectfully ask for you to exercise your executive power and prevent Residential and Dining Enterprises from terminating our lease. In order to illustrate why Chi Theta Chi means so much to me, to my 35 brothers and sisters who currently live in the house, and to hundreds of Chi Theta Chi alumni–and in order to illustrate why stripping us of our autonomy is tantamount to stripping away the very soul of this place–I will tell you my story. It’s a little long-winded, and riddled with generalities, but it’s extremely honest. I cried when I wrote this. For this reason, I ask that you read on.

Like many Chi Theta Chi residents of past and present, I hated my freshman dormitory, but found a loving home in this historic building. As a wide-eyed freshman on the first day of New Student Orientation, I arrived at a certain freshman dorm in Wilbur Hall to hear my name screamed by dorm staff who were somehow already familiar with my face.  It was a demonstration of the RAs’ dedication, to be sure, but also a taste of the sort of giddy artifice that has come to define the freshman residential experience, annually laying the plumage for the newest flush of Stanford Ducks.

As 21st century Stanford matriculates, we were a remarkable group of young adults–sensitive, hard-working, intelligent–and yet the culture in our dormitory did not encourage intellectual cross-pollination or creative vision, or provide an open environment to discuss our very real fears and frustrations; instead it reveled in intolerable fakeness. It was Camp Stanford, and I was not a happy camper. I was depressed. (Given, I had just returned from Burning Man, perhaps the most open and expressive of counterculture environments, so the transition to artifice was made all the more abrupt.)

The building itself made me feel like a pampered inmate: white cinderblock walls and frameless hydraulic doors, a prison of fluorescent sterility attended by an anonymous custodian. Awkwardness abounded, disingenuous dorm pride supplanted everyone’s secret feeling of not belonging, and the cheering of our oddly offensive cheer forever rang in the air and turned my stomach. (more…)

Badasses of Stanford: President Hennessy

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

When people on my tours ask what my favorite part of Stanford is, I always respond, “the people.”  I always mean it.  And now I’m going to tell you why.

This is the inaugural article of my new series on the badasses of Stanford.  Every week, I’ll feature a new, fantastic member of the Stanford community who exemplifies the incredible passion and persistence that Stanford embodies.  Some of them will be people you’ve heard about, and some will be Stanford’s stealth superstars whose awesome contributions go largely unnoticed.

To kick off the series, who could be a more appropriate representative of Stanford rockstardom than President Hennessy himself?

Bill Gates shows Hennessy his sweet dance moves.

Hennessy the International Superstar

President Hennessy is easily as busy as a national president.  He gets up at 5 a.m. every day and tackles dozens of conference calls and meetings, serving as Stanford’s constant ambassador, administrator, and figurehead.  Indeed, who’s to say he isn’t a “real” president?  At 8,180 acres, Stanford is roughly 20 times the size of Monaco.  Had Stanford been its own country in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we would have placed 19th overall in the world in medal count, beating out 69 real nations.

President Hennessy is kind of a big deal.

How big of a deal, you ask?  He’s tight with the Dalai Lama.  He’s an international adviser to universities abroad.  He’s the kind of guy who casually dines with the likes of Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Larry Ellison.  Right.

President Hennessy has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, and there have been speculations that Hennessy’s raw sexual energy alone would be sufficient to provide Stanford with all the clean, renewable energy it could desire.

Entrepreneurial President

All joking aside, President Hennessy really does have what it takes to power our awesome university and propel us to greatness.  In his own words,

It is crystal clear that thinking long term – seeking solutions – is what universities need to do.  I am trying to move Stanford toward my vision of what a university needs to be in the 21st century.”