Julie Kennedy

“For 22 years it has been my happy privilege to teach some of the brightest, most dedicated, joyful, creative, and optimistic young people one could hope to meet anywhere. I get to know them first as an advisor, then later as a mentor and teacher, and finally our relationship evolves to that of colleagues and friends. Our lives intersect. Commonly our friendships abide long after graduation. I dance at weddings, get email updates on important life events and careers shifts (and sometimes write recommendations letters in support of such), and occasionally meet the babies who, with luck, will join the Stanford family in their own time. I don’t say this lightly: Interacting with so many wonderful students has been one of the greatest joys of my life. I hold them all in my heart.”


Advice for the incoming Class of 2020: “Soon after you arrive you will be introduced to some important undergraduate “to do” lists — be attentive to meeting your general education requirements, know that you will need to complete the requisite classes for the major you will choose by the end of your sophomore year, take an introductory seminar, and of course, listen to the “must do” advice you’ll get from student colleagues. The lists seem long and the items on them quickly take on the character of check marks to be ticked-off on the path to a degree. Resist that impulse. Make no mistake — requirements matter; earning your degree matters. But earning your degree is not the only goal, or for some even the most important goal. What matters most is your learning and the ongoing joy in learning that you are meant to cultivate here. Please, don’t lose track of ownership of your degree and this undergraduate experience. You chose Stanford; seize this opportunity. To that end: Every quarter that you are here, chose at least one class that is just for you. Don’t take it because someone says you should or because it meets some requirement, but rather because something about the course description grabs your attention and won’t let go. Through those courses you will discover and nurture joy in learning. You might also discover an unexpected direction for your life’s work.”

Julie Kennedy, PhD ’92

Julie Kennedy, PhD ’92, Geological Sciences, with a BS in Geology from UC Davis. Professor (Teaching), Department of Earth System Science; Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment; Landreth Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Julie has had various leadership roles in the Earth Systems Program for 22 years, and was Faculty Co-director of the Haas Center for Public Service for 5 years. She stepped down in August, 2015. Julie is an avid gardener and hiker. With her wonderful partner of 37 years, Ron Adler, Julie loves taking long walks in her neighborhood and spending time with friends and neighbors. She looks forward to spending more time with family and friends and also having more time for community service work when she retires at the end of August.

Photographed in front of Y2E2 in the Science & Engineering Quad on July 22, 2016.