(Early) Sunday Message

Dean Jon Levin writes to the Stanford GSB community recognizing teaching award winners, Social Innovation Awards, and cryptocurrency innovation.

May 28, 2021

I hope everyone is looking forward to the long Memorial Day weekend. For most of us, it’s a chance to get outside and enjoy the fine weather and improved Covid conditions. It’s also an important day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, and to remember that our freedoms are the result of their sacrifice.

As we conclude the academic year, I’m delighted to recognize this year’s teaching award winners:

  • MBA Distinguished Teaching Award: Rebecca Lester
  • PhD Distinguished Service Award: Anne Beyer
  • Amplifier Award: Jann Spiess

The SA Academic Committee also recognized several finalists for the MBA teaching award: Kate Casey, Daniela Saban, Rob Siegel, Andy Skrzypacz, and Graham Weaver. Similarly, the SA Diversity Committee, which bestows the Amplifier Award to honor faculty who excelled in bringing out diverse perspectives in the classroom, recognized as finalists Keith Hennessey, Hau Lee, Aruna Ranganathan, and Amit Seru.

This year, all faculty were called upon to make exceptional efforts in adapting their classes to a virtual or hybrid environment. So, I’d like to acknowledge the outstanding work done across the faculty, as well as the resilience of students, and the work of our staff in making this a highly successful year. Kudos!

School Updates

  • Social Innovation Awards. This week the Center for Social Innovation announced the recipients of this year’s Social Innovation Fellowships: Abdulhamid Haidar, Shawon Jackson, and Ted McKlveen. Congratulations to the whole social innovation community, and to this year’s SIF recipients!
  • Botha-Chan Innovation Internships. We’re excited to offer the Botha-Chan Innovation Internships again this year. The program allows students to develop entrepreneurial ventures, and put concepts learned in the core curriculum to work in practice, with support from faculty and Center for Entrepreneurial Studies staff. Applications are currently open and the cohort is expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.
  • Fintech and Digital Currency. Cryptocurrency has been in the news a lot recently, and some of the craziness (Shiba Inu coin?) has made it easy to miss the innovation going on in traditional currencies. I learned a lot recently reading Darrell Duffie’s policy paper on central bank digital currencies. You also can read about Darrell’s views on China’s move toward a digital currency.
  • Stanford GSB Cookbook. MBA students Beverly See, Lauren Phelps, and Whitney Chu have curated a cookbook with recipes from more than 100 classmates and food from over 35 countries! You can order a digital copy of the cookbook.
  • Graduation. The Stanford GSB celebration is scheduled for Monday, June 7, in Frost Amphitheater, with the university commencement the following weekend on June 12. For this year’s celebration, we will have a faculty speaker, Jennifer Aaker, PhD ’95, and a student speaker, who will be announced this coming week.


I want to end on a serious note. There have been distressing stories in the news recently about anti-Semitic incidents both in the U.S. and globally. I have been hearing from students, faculty, and staff about their concerns, and I hope the entire Stanford GSB community will show its support in standing against hatred of all forms. We have faced many challenging societal issues over the past year, and our community’s ability to show mutual support and empathy have helped in every instance.

More Updates from the Leadership

June 17, 2023
At this year’s graduation ceremony, Dean Jon Levin offers perspectives on what it means to live a good life.
May 01, 2023
Dean Jon Levin writes about how being exposed to differing views is essential in business education — and business leadership — for Stanford Business magazine.
October 24, 2022
Dean Jon Levin writes about the ingredients needed to create an innovative ecosystem for Stanford Business magazine.