Stanford president emeritus to take helm of FSI

Casper Merkel logo President Emeritus Gerhard Casper greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her appearance at Stanford on April 15, 2010.

Gerhard Casper, Stanford’s ninth president and a senior fellow at the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, has been appointed to lead the institute for a year. The announcement was made Wednesday by Ann Arvin, vice provost and dean of research.

Casper will become director on Sept. 1, 2012. He succeeds Coit D. Blacker, an FSI senior fellow, the Olivier Nomellini Professor in International Studies, and the Olivier Nomellini Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Blacker, whose affiliation with Stanford began in 1977, will be on sabbatical leave next year.

“Chip has provided truly remarkable leadership for FSI,” Arvin said.

Among his priorities at the helm of FSI, Casper will spearhead a search for a director who will take his place in 2013.

“As a senior fellow at FSI since 2000, President Casper brings a deep knowledge of the institute and his own unparalleled experience with academic leadership to the launch of the next phase of the institute’s development,” Arvin said. “His willingness to make this commitment to FSI assures that its many dynamic research and educational programs will be maintained and that new opportunities can be pursued vigorously.”

Casper’s work has primarily focused on constitutional law, constitutional history, comparative law, and legal theory. He has also worked on rule of law issues, teaching in the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship program at FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law.

“My main interests in life have been issues of governance as reflected in United States constitutional history and law,” Casper said. “Apart from such global problems as hunger, disease and security, governability itself has become a substantive concern for nation states, regional organizations – such as the European Union – and for the world. Hardly any substantive matter can any longer be addressed and solved parochially. Because of that, institutions like FSI are worth our attention and support. Because of that I have agreed to make my own modest contribution.

“That decision has been made much easier by the great leadership which Chip Blacker has provided over the last nine years,” he said.

Blacker, who has led FSI since 2003, called Casper the “perfect choice” to lead FSI.

"President Casper brings a deep knowledge of the institute and his own unparalleled experience with academic leadership to the launch of the next phase of the institute’s development," – Ann Arvin, vice provost and dean of research

“I’m delighted that Gerhard Casper has agreed to take the reins of FSI after I step down in August,” Blacker said. “Gerhard’s willingness to serve in this capacity guarantees strong leadership for the institute at a critically important moment in its history.”

Before starting his tenure as Stanford’s president in 1992, Casper spent 26 years at the University of Chicago where he taught law before serving as dean of the law school. He was Chicago’s provost from 1989 to 1992.

Casper, who is the Peter and Helen Bing Professor in Undergraduate Studies, Emeritus, and a professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, began his teaching career in 1964 as an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1937, Casper studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg. He earned his first law degree in 1961 and received his master of laws degree from Yale Law School a year later. He then returned to Freiburg, where he received his doctorate in 1964. He immigrated to the United States in 1964.

He has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute, the International Academy of Comparative Law, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Orden Pour le mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste (Order Pour le mérite for the Sciences and Arts), and the American Philosophical Society. He has held the Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance at the Library of Congress, and has been awarded several honorary doctorates.

Casper is a member of the board of trustees of the Central European University in Budapest and additional not-for-profit boards. From 2000 to 2008, he served as a successor trustee of Yale University.

He is married to Regina Casper, professor emerita (on recall) of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford.