Encina Community Connects Around New Bechtel Courtyard


A dedication ceremony was held on November 7, 2019 to celebrate the opening of Bechtel Courtyard and Encina Commons at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Photo: Rod Searcey

A project 20 years in the making officially came to completion with the dedication of the restoration of Encina Commons and new Bechtel Courtyard on November 7.

The new space will be shared by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and two departments in the School of Humanities and Sciences: Stanford Global Studies and the Department of Political Science. Philanthropic support played a key role in the renovations.

“I am thrilled that we now have this stunning courtyard for our faculty and students to use and enjoy,” said FSI Director Michael McFaul, professor of political science. “There is no doubt that FSI needs the space, as do our partners in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and I am confident that our Master’s in International Policy students will make the most of it.” Professor McFaul is also the Ken Olivier & Angela Nomellini Professor in International Studies.

The space will help establish an international studies hub at FSI by connecting Encina Commons and Encina Hall: the large courtyard is accessible by stairs from Bechtel Conference Room in Encina Hall and from a new lobby area in Encina Commons.

In her remarks during the dedication ceremony, Dean Debra Satz, Vernon R. and Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences and
Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society, emphasized how the new area reflects Stanford’s commitment to promoting collaboration between academic departments and interdisciplinary research.

“The space people are in can really facilitate or inhibit what happens,” Satz said. “At Stanford, we place a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research and teaching, and I think of this space as a material embodiment of that commitment. We have a lot of faculty who are shared between the School of Humanities and Sciences and FSI and this symbolizes and valorizes that sharing of people.”

Provost Persis Drell and Vice Provost and Dean of Research Kathryn Moler also made remarks at the ceremony, while University Architect and Director of Campus Planning David Lenox spoke about the history of Encina Hall, which was originally a men’s dorm, and described the transformation of the once “not-so-nice-looking” courtyard to the new and improved present-day space.

Also new to Encina Commons is an atrium and bridge across the new open lobby, which connects both of the second-floor wings. Several conference rooms have also been added to the first floor as part of the new Moghadam Conference Center.

Across the courtyard, in Encina Hall, the main lobby has been renamed the Coit D. Blacker lobby in honor of FSI’s director, affectionately known as Chip, from 2003 to 2012, who championed the renovation project.

“Chip understood that we needed a space for international studies, and that we needed a space to allow FSI to grow,” said McFaul. “It was his vision and his dedication to working with campus partners that got us here today.”

A New Look for MIP and International Relations
The ground floor of Encina Hall, which houses the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy (MIP) program, has been remodeled and is now open. Renovations to the academic space, which is adjacent to the Bechtel Courtyard, will allow students more space for collaboration and will bring all of the MIP staff offices together in a centralized location. 

Another big change for the MIP program was announced last summer: Professor Francis Fukuyama, one of the most well-known and respected social scientists in the world, took over as the program’s director in August.

The International Relations program also has a new space on the ground floor of Encina Hall, which will foster academic collaboration and enhance the MIP student experience, and the space is also home to the Center for Human Rights and International Justice within the Stanford Global Studies division.

“This is a critical time to prepare our students to be policy leaders in government, civic society, and the private sector,” said Fukuyama, who is the Mosbacher Director at the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI. “Our curriculum aims to be among the best in international policy education, and continues to get stronger with new faculty, courses, and terrific students.”

The following donors made the Bechtel Courtyard and Encina Commons renovation possible:
The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr.
Laurie Dachs
Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini
Hamid and Tina Gwatkin Moghadam


Watch the evening’s complete dedication ceremony on the FSI YouTube channel: