A New Endowed Chair at Stanford

Scott Francis
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Stanford and Google have joined up to create an endowed chair in honor of Dr. Rajeev Motwani, who passed away earlier this year.  As the number of Computer Science enrollments at Stanford have grown over the last few years (12 percent just this year alone), Stanford has set about creating 10 new endowed chairs for the department, which, as Stanford points out, Dr. Motwani would have approved of wholeheartedly.  My father was the chair of Political Science for two different universities in his career, and I witnessed how he set up an endowed chair for his predecessor, who left substantially all of his wealth to the political science department of the University of Florida.  Its really one of the great honors that a university can bestow on one of its own.  I also witnessed the way the faculty debated how to fill those chairs with someone who could live up to the goals and aspirations of the endowment.  Often these endowed chairs take on a personality that reflects the prestige and career of their namesake and the ideals they were invested in.  As reported by Stanford:
In the spirit of honoring Motwani, the professorship will go to a distinguished senior faculty member whose work is like his: deeply rooted in computer science fundamentals and the underlying theory, but also applicable to important practical problems within and beyond the traditional boundaries of the discipline.
Thank you Stanford and Google (Larry and Sergei especially) for doing this for Dr. Motwani.  It may seem like a small gesture in the big scheme of things, but it is an incredibly appropriate one.