Jim Clark, former Stanford University professor and founder of several well-known Silicon Valley companies, has donated $60 million to support interdisciplinary research at Stanford.
Clark announced the donation earlier this month at an opportune time and location: the 10th anniversary of the James H. Clark Center for Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, a building he funded with a $90 million gift in 1999. Bio-X, a cross-disciplinary research initiative that focuses on biology and medicine, is housed within the Clark Center.
"The research and technology that have been produced in the Clark Center over the past 10 years have exceeded my wildest expectations and, it is clear, will continue to make a big impact on human health going forward," Clark said in a press release. "My gift to Stanford is one of the best things I have ever done."
Clark's donation also coincided with another Bio-X achievement. The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Michael Levitt, a Bio-X faculty member and professor in structural biology, the morning of Clark's announcement. Levitt was recognized for his interdisciplinary work, combining computer science, biology and quantum physics to model the chemical processes of molecules.
"Wednesday was a very joyous day at Stanford, one to celebrate and reflect upon the significant achievements that can result from interdisciplinary research," Stanford President John Hennessy stated in a press release. "Jim Clark is a superb engineer and a visionary entrepreneur who launched a series of companies that changed the way we live and work."
Clark, who comes from a physics and computer science background, taught electrical engineering at Stanford in the early 1980s. In 1982, he founded Silicon Graphics, a computing company that manufactures software and hardware for large-scale computers. He went on to found Netscape in the early 1990s and then Healtheon, an attempt to streamline the U.S. healthcare system, and MyCFO, a wealth-management company for wealthy Silicon Valley greats.
"My most interesting and profound insights have come when I changed fields and was able to look at things in new ways. Stanford's academic environment encourages this way of tackling problems and I look forward to the great innovations that it will produce," Clark stated in a press release.