|10th President of Stanford University|
September 2000 – August 2016
|Preceded by||Gerhard Casper|
|Succeeded by||Marc Tessier-Lavigne|
|11th Provost of Stanford University|
July 1999 – September 2000
|Preceded by||Condoleezza Rice|
|Succeeded by||John Etchemendy|
John Leroy Hennessy
September 22, 1952
Huntington, New York, U.S.
|Known for||Reduced instruction set computer|
|Thesis||A real-time language for small processors: design, definition and implementation (1977)|
|Doctoral advisor||Richard Kieburtz|
John Leroy Hennessy (born September 22, 1952) is an American computer scientist, academician and businessman who serves as Chairman of Alphabet Inc. Hennessy is one of the founders of MIPS Computer Systems Inc. as well as Atheros and served as the tenth President of Stanford University. Hennessy announced that he would step down in the summer of 2016. He was succeeded as President by Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Marc Andreessen called him "the godfather of Silicon Valley."
Along with David Patterson, Hennessy was a recipient of the 2017 Turing Award for their work in developing the reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture, which is now used in 99% of new computer chips.
Hennessy was raised in Huntington, New York, as one of six children. His father was an aerospace engineer and his mother was a teacher before raising her children.
He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University, and his master's degree and Doctor of Philosophy in computer science from Stony Brook University.
Hennessy became a Stanford faculty member in 1977. In 1981, he began the MIPS project to investigate RISC processors, and in 1984, he used his sabbatical year to found MIPS Computer Systems Inc. to commercialize the technology developed by his research. In 1987, he became the Willard and Inez Kerr Bell Endowed Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Hennessy served as director of Stanford's Computer System Laboratory (1989–93), a research center run by Stanford's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments. He was chair of the Department of Computer Science (1994–96) and Dean of the School of Engineering (1996–99).
In 1999, Stanford President Gerhard Casper appointed Hennessy to succeed Condoleezza Rice as Provost of Stanford University. When Casper stepped down to focus on teaching in 2000, the Stanford Board of Trustees named Hennessy to succeed Casper as president. In 2008, Hennessy earned a salary of $1,091,589 ($702,771 base salary, $259,592 deferred benefits, $129,226 non-tax benefits), the 23rd highest among all American university presidents.
Hennessy has served as a board member of Google (later Alphabet Inc.), Cisco Systems, Atheros Communications, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2008.
On October 14, 2010, Hennessy was presented a khata by the 14th Dalai Lama before the latter addressed Maples Pavilion.
In December 2010, Hennessy coauthored an editorial with Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust urging the passage of the DREAM Act; the legislation did not pass the 111th United States Congress.
In 2013, Hennessy became a judge for the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. He has remained on the judging panel for the subsequent awards in 2015 and 2017.
In June 2015, Hennessy announced that he would step down as Stanford president in summer 2016.
In 2016, Hennessy co-founded the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program; he serves as its inaugural director. The program has a $750 million endowment to fully fund graduate students at Stanford for up to three years. The inaugural class of 51 scholars from 21 countries arrived at Stanford in the fall of 2018.
In February 2018, Hennessy was announced as the new Chairman of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company.
Hennessy has a history of strong interest and involvement in college-level computer education. He co-authored, with David Patterson, two well-known books on computer architecture, Computer Organization and Design: the Hardware/Software Interface and Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, which introduced the DLX RISC architecture. They have been widely used as textbooks for graduate and undergraduate courses since 1990.
Hennessy also contributed to updating Donald Knuth's MIX processor to the MMIX. Both are model computers used in Knuth's classic series, The Art of Computer Programming. MMIX is Knuth's DLX equivalent.
Hennessy is married to Andrea Berti who he met in high school.
A discussion on the future of technology at the 2001 Summit. Bezos is joined by Bell Labs President Dr. Jeong Kim, Microsoft’s Dr. Charles Simonyi, Stanford President Dr. John L. Hennessy, and tech entrepreneur Dr. Kenan Sahin.