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Gerhard Casper

Academy of Achievement

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Gerhard Casper
Gerhard Casper

Gerhard Casper

Academy of Achievement

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A lifelong leader in academia and an esteemed scholar of constitutional law, Gerhard Casper was the ninth President of Stanford University, serving from 1992 to 2000. Casper was born in Hamburg, Germany, where he survived the wartime bombing of the city. He first visited the United States at age 16, as delegate to an international forum for high school students. He earned law degrees at the University of Hamburg and at Yale University, completing his Doctor of Laws at the University of Freiburg. A specialist in American constitutional law, he emigrated to the United States in the 1960s, and began his academic career as a professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Casper was a longtime faculty member at the University of Chicago, where he served as a professor of law, dean of the law school, and provost of the university. He joined the Stanford Law School faculty on assuming the Presidency of Stanford in 1992. As President, he was immediately tasked with rebuilding a campus still severely damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. He led the first comprehensive review of undergraduate education at Stanford in 25 years. He was in the midst of these activities when he addressed the Academy of Achievement at its 1997 Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. In this podcast, recorded on that occasion, he reminds the student delegates that chance will play an enormous role in their lives, as it had in his. He extols the value of an open mind in responding to unexpected opportunities and challenges. Since retiring from the presidency of Stanford, he has served the university as emeritus professor and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He has held the Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance at the Library of Congress, as well as serving as a trustee of Yale University, the Central European University in Budapest and the American Academy in Berlin.

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