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Frequently asked questions

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I’m thinking about applying to be a trustee. What are the attributes I need to be a viable candidate?

Serious candidates should showcase the following qualifications:

  • A proven track record of volunteer leadership service and giving to Stanford.
  • Demonstrated professional and/or civic excellence
  • Ability to synthesize complex issues at a high level
  • Strong leadership skills

How does the Alumni Committee on Trustee Nominations define a “proven track record of volunteer leadership service” in regards to this process?

The Board of Trustees is charged with setting the direction of the university and requires a strong understanding of Stanford and its priorities. Examples of proven leadership might include: past and current service on Stanford boards and committees; regional, school, class, or fundraising leadership roles.

How competitive is the ACTN process?

The process is extremely competitive. We are humbled by the tremendous number of alumni who would like to serve their alma mater on the Board of Trustees. Every cycle we receive hundreds of applications from some of Stanford’s most dedicated alumni volunteer leaders from around the world. The ACTN conducts a thorough vetting process before narrowing the pool to the final four candidates.

How often does the alumni-nominated process occur?

The Alumni Committee on Trustee Nominations process repeats every three years. Four trustees are selected each cycle to serve six year terms. The next application period will commence in late 2022. 

Are current Stanford faculty, staff and students eligible to join the Board of Trustees?

No. Current faculty, staff and students are not eligible and may not apply.

Can I nominate an alum other than myself?

If you know of an outstanding candidate for trusteeship, click here to recommend them.

What is the time commitment for a Stanford trustee?

The Board of Trustees meets five times per academic year (additional special sessions may be called). Each meeting spans three days. Preparation for each trustee meeting involves two to six hours of reading (materials are mailed 12 days before each meeting). Attendance at all board meetings is expected.

Current trustees report spending a substantial amount of time and travel—a minimum of 20 days per year—engaged in trustee responsibilities (meetings, committee work, task forces, fundraising, preparation and university events). Trustees serve on board committees and may be asked to serve on university, school, institute/center or departmental committees or panels. Trustees may also be asked to represent Stanford on an ad hoc basis, and they are encouraged to participate in alumni and development activities when needed.

Does the university reimburse board members for travel expenses?

The expectation is that trustees pay for their expenses incurred while participating on the board. In rare cases, exceptions are made.

Whom should I contact with questions?

Email us with questions.