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OSA Mourns the Loss of Donald Kennedy

Kathleen Sullivan, Stanford University

Original obituary posted to Stanford University on 21 April 2020

Donald Kennedy, a neurobiologist who became the eighth president of Stanford in 1980 and helped set the stage for its transformation into one of the nation’s top research universities during his 12 years in office, died April 21, 2020, of COVID-19 at Gordon Manor, a residential care home in Redwood City where he resided for the past two years.

Image credit: Stanford News Service

Kennedy, who experienced a serious stroke in 2015, was 88.

In his scholarly research, which centered on the properties of small nerve cells, Kennedy established that complex forms of motor activity can be elicited by stimulation of single nerve cells located in the central nervous system of the crayfish. He subsequently pioneered a new technique of dye injection into single nerve cells so that the whole axon, dendrite and cell body of the cell can be seen in the light of the microscope.

His tenure as president was marked by a renewed commitment to teaching by the university, which opened the Stanford Humanities Center, expanded interdisciplinary studies and added campuses overseas. In 1988, Stanford launched Bing Stanford in Washington, which gives undergraduates the opportunity to live, study and work as interns with government agencies and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.

“As we mourn the loss of Don Kennedy, we also salute his enormous contributions to Stanford and to our country,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

“As a biologist, as a national voice for science, as a vigorous leader of Stanford University and as an engaging teacher beloved by so many students, Don brought to his endeavors an enduring commitment to academic excellence, a deep wellspring of warmth and good humor and a vision for the possibilities always ahead of Stanford.”

Kennedy encouraged students to engage in public service by launching a program now known as the Haas Center for Public Service. The Haas Center now offers the Donald Kennedy Public Service Fellowship, which funds summer service projects for undergraduate students.

For the full obituary, please visit this link

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