Persis Drell

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Persis Drell
Persis Drell at Stanford 3-4-09 1.JPG
Born (1955-12-30) December 30, 1955 (age 66)
NationalityUnited States
EducationWellesley College (BA)
University of California, Berkeley (PhD)
TitleProvost of Stanford University
ParentSidney Drell
Scientific career
FieldsParticle physics
InstitutionsCornell University, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Persis S. Drell is an American physicist best known for her expertise in the field of particle physics. She was the director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory from 2007 to 2012. She was dean of the Stanford University School of Engineering from 2014 until 2017.[1] Drell became the Provost of Stanford University on February 1, 2017.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

The daughter of noted physicist Sidney Drell, Persis Drell grew up on the Stanford University campus.[4] She earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and physics from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in atomic physics from University of California, Berkeley, studying under Eugene Commins.[5] She completed her postdoctoral work in high-energy physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


She joined the physics faculty at Cornell University in 1988.[4]

Stanford University[edit]

In 2002, Drell was hired as associate director of research at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (then known as the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) where she oversaw the BaBar experiment.[4] In 2007, she was named the fourth director of SLAC, succeeding Jonathan M. Dorfan.[6]

In November 2011, she announced her intention to step down as the head of SLAC and return to a position as a faculty member at Stanford.[7]

In September 2014, Drell became the ninth dean of the Stanford University School of Engineering, the first woman to serve in that role.[1]

In February 2017, Drell became the thirteenth provost of Stanford University.[2][3]

In March 2019, in response to the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, Drell announced that all varsity athletic recruits proposed by a Stanford coach for an athletic recommendation will face a background check from a Stanford Athletics executive.[8]

In May 2019, Drell released the Provost's Statement on Diversity and Inclusion.[9]


In 2019, Drell's administration began a cost-cutting agenda beginning with a proposal to discontinue funds for Stanford University Press, sparking controversy. Following outcry from students and faculty, Drell agreed to a stop-gap measure to fund the press for one additional year.[10][11][12][13][14]


  1. ^ a b "Former SLAC Director Persis Drell named dean of Stanford Engineering". Stanford Report. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Persis Drell named Stanford provost". Stanford News. November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "About the Provost". Office of the Provost. Stanford University. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Mead, Tom (May 1, 2002). "Renowned physicist Persis Drell joins SLAC as associate director for research". The Stanford Report. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  5. ^ "Persis Drell, Director Emerita". SLAC. Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  6. ^ "Persis S. Drell Named Fourth Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Stanford Linear Accelerator Center" (Press release). Stanford University. December 6, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  7. ^ "Drell to step down as SLAC laboratory director". Stanford Report. November 2, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  8. ^ "After scandal, Stanford announces new admissions policies for athletes -". 2019-03-23. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  9. ^ "Provost's Statement on Diversity and Inclusion - Office of the Provost".
  10. ^ "Provost Compromise a 'Step in the Right Direction'". Stanford Daily. 2019-05-01. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  11. ^ Rothberg, Michael (2019-05-05). "One of World's Wealthiest Educational Institutions May Close Its Renowned Press". The Nation. Retrieved 2019-05-06.
  12. ^ "Shame on Stanford". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  13. ^ "Reprieve at Stanford". Inside Higher Ed. 2019-05-01. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  14. ^ "Facing Blowback, Stanford Partly Reverses Course". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2019-05-01. Retrieved 2019-05-01.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Provost of Stanford University
Succeeded by
Preceded by SLAC Director
Dec 2007 – Dec 2012
Succeeded by