Sunday Message: Celebrating Black History Month

Dean Jon Levin writes to the Stanford GSB community reflecting on Black History Month.

February 07, 2021

February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of our own Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni. In this year alone, we’ve seen their efforts across the school — from research, to new classes and programs, to expanded cases with diverse protagonists — and take pride in leadership shown by our alumni.

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As we look ahead to the month, Senior Associate Dean Sarah Soule will be writing with a special update on our Action Plan for Racial Equity. I’m excited that we have just launched the ambitious BOLD Fellowship, which will expand our financial aid system and play an integral role in attracting and supporting future GSB students. The GSB’s Black Business Students Association has put together an amazing lineup of content and events for the coming weeks. And the GSB will be posting on its social media channels. I look forward to seeing what they’ve been creating — keep an eye out for it!

School Updates

  • Last week, the GSB and our alumni-founded Latino Business Action Network held the sixth annual State of Latino Entrepreneurship Forum. The event brought together more than 1,000 participants, including many of the over 700 Latino entrepreneurs who have been taught by GSB faculty as part of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. I had the opportunity to interview Mary Daly, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, about the highlights of& this year’s report on Latino business, the disparate impacts of the pandemic, and the federal response.
  • On a sadder note we said goodbye to Eddie Lazear, Davies Family Professor of Economics, at a virtual memorial service on Wednesday. All of us who attended left the service feeling uplifted after seeing the photos and hearing stories about Eddie. I’m delighted that his former student James Liang has generously agreed to support a new postdoctoral scholars program in Eddie’s honor at the GSB. Eddie’s close friend and colleague Kathryn Shaw will take the lead next year in helping to set up the Lazear-Liang Postdoctoral Scholars Program.
  • This weekend, we lost another luminary member of the GSB faculty, with the passing of George P. Shultz at the age of 100. Secretary Shultz was one of the great Americans of the last century. His career spanned academics, business, and policy, and he understood and appreciated the connections between them as well as anyone. He was deeply dedicated to service. Even after serving in four Cabinet-level positions, including as one of our most consequential Secretaries of State, he would introduce himself as “George Shultz, U.S. Marine.” He remained intellectually vibrant to the end, convening groups to discuss artificial intelligence, climate change, and U.S.-China relations. Most of all, he was a person of enormous integrity, respected — indeed revered — by all those who knew him. I will forever remember Secretary Shultz sitting in the front row of Stanford events, and having the speaker — a professor, a CEO, a Cabinet secretary — start their talk by looking out at the audience, pausing, and saying “I just want to acknowledge the honor of speaking to a group that includes George Shultz.”

Closing

It’s midway through Winter quarter and there is a lot going on across the school. I’ll write more over the next few weeks. Like many of you, I continue to track efforts around vaccine distribution closely. They are the key to bringing us back together, and to ending this difficult chapter, one that has had such disparate impacts on communities across the country and around the world. We are all hopeful that the pace will continue to pick up, bringing this day closer.

I hope you had a chance to get outside this weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather, and for those who plan to watch, enjoy the Super Bowl.

Jon

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