CISAC has endowed its first William J. Perry International Security Fellowship with $1 million in private donations. The fellowship is one of several visiting positions for pre- and postdoctoral researchers that CISAC plans to establish in honor of Perry, the 19th U.S. secretary of defense and former CISAC co-director.
The center announced the first fellowship endowment at a dinner Oct. 17 to celebrate William J. Perry's 80th birthday.
"We live in an era of increased opportunity and peril. Issues of international security have grown in scope and complexity," said Stanford University president John L. Hennessy, who attended the dinner. "The Perry fellowship program will provide a vital training ground for tomorrow's leaders, giving them the opportunity to work across disciplines and develop solutions to these difficult challenges."
Perry fellows will reside at CISAC for a year of policy-relevant research on international security issues. They will join other distinguished scientists, social scientists, and engineers who work together on security problems that cannot be solved within any single field of study. CISAC researchers address overlapping issues in nuclear weapons policy, proliferation, and regional tensions; biosecurity; homeland security; and effective global engagement.
"The fellowships are a fitting tribute to a scholar and leader whose many years of service continue to provide a more secure future for all of us," said CISAC co-director Siegfried S. Hecker.
"Bill Perry guided CISAC and its science program during a formative period, as its second science co-director," said Scott D. Sagan, CISAC co-director. "The center continues to benefit immeasurably from the early leadership he provided as well as from his ongoing contributions in teaching, research, and policy advising."
Perry's career offers a model of sound policy informed by rigorous scholarship. With bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Stanford and a PhD from Penn State, he became a leader in the electronics industry and a frequent advisor to the U.S. government on national security technologies. He served as U.S. undersecretary of defense for research and engineering in 1977 and returned to industry in 1981. Perry served as co-director of CISAC from 1988 until 1993, when he was called back to Washington to be secretary of defense.
In awarding Perry the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997, former President Bill Clinton said, "When the history of our time is written, Bill Perry may well be recorded as the most productive, effective secretary of defense the United States ever had."
Perry returned to Stanford, where he continues to teach and mentor students who will carry on his tradition of leadership. At CISAC he co-directs the Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration between Stanford and Harvard universities.