Richard Lyman is president emeritus and the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Humanities, emeritus, in the History Department at Stanford University. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1958 and held positions as professor of history, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and vice president and provost before serving as president of Stanford University from 1970 to 1980. From 1980 to 1988 he was president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and from 1988 to his retirement in 1991 he was director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Lyman has served as a director of the Council on Foundations and chaired the board of Independent Sector; he is also a past chairman of the Association of American Universities. He served as a director of IBM Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp., and as a member of the board of the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities. He is a member of the American Historical Association and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He holds seven honorary degrees; is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Historical Society; is a member of the American Philosophical Society; an honorary fellow of the London School of Economics, and an officer of the French Legion of Honor. He received a BA in history from Swarthmore College, and an MA and PhD in history from Harvard University. In 1951 and 1952 he studied at the London School of Economics as a Fulbright Fellow.