Main content start
decoration image





Doctor of Science
honoris causa

Professor John L Hennessy is a pioneer in computer architecture, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and has served as President of Stanford University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University and Master’s and PhD degrees in computer science from Stony Brook University.

After joining Stanford’s faculty in 1977, Professor Hennessy drew together researchers in 1981 to focus on a technology known as RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer), which revolutionised computing by increasing performance while reducing costs. Professor Hennessy helped transfer this technology to industry, cofounding MIPS Computer Systems in 1984. His subsequent research focused on multiprocessor systems, including the DASH and FLASH projects, both of which pioneered concepts now used in industry. He was appointed as the inaugural Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1987, and appointed as Stanford’s 10th President in 2000. As president, he focused on increasing financial aid and on developing new initiatives in multidisciplinary research and teaching. He was the founding board chair of Atheros Communications, one of the early developers of WiFi technology, and has served on the board of Cisco from 2002 to 2018 and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), where he is currently chair of the board.

Professor Hennessy is the academic architect and visionary behind the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford. Building upon the major academic initiatives advanced during his presidency, he sought to create an enduring and unmatched education programme that would have significant impact on global challenges in the 21st century and beyond. It is now the largest fully endowed graduate-level scholarship programme in the world, and Professor Hennessy currently serves as its Director.

For his achievements, Professor Hennessy has received global recognition, including inter alia, the 2012 Medal of Honor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the 2017 ACM Turing Award (jointly with David Patterson), the 2001 Eckert-Mauchly Award of the Association for Computing Machinery; the 2001 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, and the 2004 NEC C&C Prize for lifetime achievement in computer science and engineering. Professor Hennessy is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society.

In recognition of his contributions to academia and humanity worldwide, the University has resolved to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.




decoration image