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Donald Kennedy

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Donald Kennedy

Donald Kennedy
Eighth President of Stanford University
In office
August 1, 1980 – September 1, 1992
Preceded by Richard W. Lyman
Succeeded by Gerhard Casper
Personal details
Born (1931-08-18) August 18, 1931
New York City, New York
Spouse(s) Robin Kennedy
Children Page Kennedy, Julia Tussing
Residence Palo Alto, California
Alma mater Harvard University
Profession Professor, Journalist, Scientist

Donald Kennedy (born August 18, 1931)[1] is an American scientist, public administrator and academic. He served as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (1977-1979), President of Stanford University (1980-1992), and Editor-in-Chief of Science Magazine (2000-2008). He was forced to resign as president of Stanford University in 1992 in the wake of a scandal involving expenses charged to the federal government.[2]

Donald Kennedy was born in New York and educated at Harvard University (A.B.; Ph.D., Biology, 1956).[3][4] He has spent most of his professional career at Stanford University, which he joined as a faculty member in 1960 and where he was chair of the Department of Biology from 1964–1972, then director of the Program in Human Biology from 1973-1977.[3][4] Kennedy is on the board of directors of the Lucile and David Packard Foundation.

For 26 months he served as Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration during the Carter Administration. Having been appointed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph Califano, in April 1977, in the next two-plus years Kennedy and the FDA dealt with issues such as the fallout from the attempt to ban saccharin, and the risks of antibiotic resistance in humans from agricultural antibiotic use[5][6] and worked on provisions of the proposed Drug Regulation Reform Act of 1978.[4]

After stepping down from the FDA in June 1979, Kennedy returned to Stanford where he served as provost.[4] In 1980 he became president of Stanford University and served in that position until 1992,[3] when he resigned following congressional hearings over whether the university improperly billed the government for research expense. He "raised eyebrows" during his tenure by engaging in an affair with Robin Hamill, who was a Stanford lawyer at the time, before divorcing his wife and then marrying Hamill.[7] He remained at Stanford after resigning from the presidency. From 2000 until 2008, he was editor-in-chief of Science,[3] the weekly published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (replaced by Bruce Alberts).

In 2010 he received Wonderfest's Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.[8]

According to his Stanford biography, Kennedy's present research interests relate to "policy on such trans-boundary environmental problems as: major land-use changes; economically-driven alterations in agricultural practice; global climate change; beyond coal; and alternative energy sources.".[3] He is now President Emeritus of Stanford University; Bing Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, Emeritus and Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, by courtesy.


  1. ^ "Kennedy chronology". July 29, 1991. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e "FSI Stanford Media Guide--Donald Kennedy, PhD". Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Donald Kennedy, Ph.D.". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Sagan Prize Recipients". 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Gerald J. Lieberman
Provost of Stanford University
Succeeded by
Albert M. Hastorf
Preceded by
Richard W. Lyman
President of Stanford University
Succeeded by
Gerhard Casper
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