Silicon Valley venture billionaire John Doerr and his wife Ann have committed to gift $1.1 billion to Stanford University in order to establish a new school dedicated to the study of climate change and its solution.
The donation, which was revealed on Wednesday, is Stanford’s biggest ever. After the $1.8 billion that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, in 2018, it is the second-largest contribution to a university in American history.
As a result, Stanford, which already has significant facilities for studying energy and the environment, is anticipated to rise to the top of the global league tables for climate research. The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will be its name.
To address humanity’s biggest issue, Stanford is taking a bold, proactive, and long-term approach. We are confident in Stanford’s ambitions and capabilities, according to John and Ann Doerr.
According to the Forbes 2022 list of the world’s wealthiest people, Woodside, Calif.-based Doerr, 70, has a net worth of $12.7 billion. He grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Rice University with an electrical engineering degree before going on to Harvard Business School for an MBA in the 1970s. With no employment, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974, where he worked for Intel as a salesperson and earned many memory device patents.
Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital company based in Menlo Park, California, hired him in 1980. With his rise to the position of chairman under his belt, he’s been an early investor in a slew of high-profile tech businesses like Amazon.com, Amazon.com Inc.
Doerr is the head of Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational institution that gives video classes on math and other disciplines situated in Mountain View, California. Former trustee of Rice University, former board member of the Environmental Defense Fund, and current advisory board member of the organization.
Stanford has obtained a whopping $590 million from additional contributors, many of whom are tech giants, to fund the new climate school in addition to the Doerr’s donation. In addition to Yang and his wife, Akiko, there are the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Susan Orr, the daughter of Hewlett Packard co-founder David Packard and her husband Lynn Orr, an emeritus professor of engineering at Stanford. Yang is a billionaire and was the former CEO of Yahoo!, as was David Filo, who founded Yahoo! with his wife, Angela.
About 90 current Stanford faculty members will join the school’s academic departments when classes begin next year. More than 60 academic members will be hired over the next decade to focus on energy and climate research, as well as environmental justice.
The Earth’s climate is warming as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels, which trap heat in the atmosphere. Only since 2005 have we seen all 10 warmest years on record since modern temperature records started, according to NASA and NOAA, the National Weather Service.
There has been an increase in wildfires, severe droughts, rising sea levels, and other issues as a result of rising temperatures. With legislation requiring renewable energy like solar and wind and tax rebates and other incentives for electric cars, California has spearheaded efforts to minimize fossil fuel use. In 2004, the state’s emissions were at their highest.
Most Republican politicians, like the former President Trump, who denied climate change was real and argued that it was an American hoax designed to destroy the economy, have done little or nothing to limit their use of coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.
44 percent of Americans expressed “great concern” about the state of the environment in the most recent Gallup survey on environmental concerns, conducted in March. 27 percent indicated they were concerned “a good lot,” “a little,” or “not at all,” respectively (28 percent ). According to Democrats and independents, they were more anxious than the Republicans.
Water pollution, air pollution, and the loss of plant and animal species rated higher than climate change when asked which environmental concerns they were most worried about.
Consequently, some doubters claim that large donations to institutions are insufficient.
‘I don’t see how donating a billion dollars to a wealthy institution is going to shift the needle on this problem in a near-term time frame.’” David Callahan, author of ‘The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age,’ said the New York Times on Monday when questioned about Doerr’s offer. As much as I appreciate his generosity, I believe that $1 billion would be better spent on public relations efforts to raise awareness of this issue. Politicians won’t take anything unless the public perceives this as a major concern.”
Arun Majumdar, a mechanical engineering and materials science professor at Stanford, will be the dean of the new school. Majumdar is a former Google vice president for energy, a PhD engineer from UC Berkeley, and a former Obama Administration undersecretary for energy.
Professor Majumdar stated, “The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will not only harness the intellectual horsepower of the entire campus, but will also partner with external organizations around the world to jointly develop innovative solutions and identify new insights through research and education. We don’t own the Earth; rather, we borrow it from our offspring, as the saying goes. Humans and environment must coexist together in the future.”