Career Center

Donald Kennedy

Bing Professor of Environmental Science, emeritus
President emeritus, Stanford University
Editor-in-Chief, Science


Donald Kennedy, a biologist by training, currently works on a variety of problems at the intersection of science and public policy. On June 1, 2000, he began a term as Editor-in-Chief of, Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

After receiving AB and Ph.D. degrees in biology from Harvard, Dr. Kennedy moved away from an early interest in ecology and behavioral biology to develop a research program in neurobiology. He came to Stanford in 1960, served as Chairman of the Department of Biology from 1965 to 1972, and in 1973 became Chairman of the Program in Human Biology – an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that he helped create.

In 1977 Dr. Kennedy took a 2 ½ year leave to serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, following an increasing academic interest in regulatory policy regarding health and the environment. After his return to Stanford in 1979, Dr. Kennedy served for a year as Provost and then for twelve years as President – a time marked by renewed attention to undergraduate education and student commitment to public service, and by successful completion of the largest capital campaign in the history of higher education. Kennedy continued to work on health and environmental policy issues, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Health Effects Institute (a non-profit organization devoted to mobile source emissions), and the California Nature Conservancy. He is the author of Academic Duty (Harvard University Pres, 1997), a book discussing some of the challenges facing American institutions of higher education.

His present research program, conducted through the Institute for International Studies includes interdisciplinary studies on policies regarding such trans-boundary environmental problems as: major land-use changes; economically-driven alterations in agricultural practice; global climate change; and the development of regulatory policies. Kennedy, with several colleagues, completed Environmental Quality and Regional Conflict, an analysis undertaken at the invitation of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.

Dr. Kennedy was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1972 and is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Commission for Public Service, and the American Philosophical Society. He currently serves as Director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is Co-Chairman of the NAS Project on Science, Technology & Law.

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