In the latest Around Town column, news about a $1.1 billion donation for Stanford's new sustainability school set to open this fall and a four-week citywide scavenger hunt for local puzzle lovers.
A GIFT OF EPIC PROPORTIONS ... Venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife, Ann, have donated $1.1 billion to Stanford University in support of a new school focused on climate change and sustainability, the university announced Wednesday.
In recognition of the gift — the largest in the university's history — Stanford is naming the school after the couple. The Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability will be the university's first new school in 70 years.
"We have designed a school for the future combining knowledge generation and impact, building on the strong foundation established through Stanford's history of scholarship in Stanford Earth and our other schools and interdisciplinary institutes," university President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement. "We are deeply grateful to John and Ann for partnering with us to realize the school's mission, as well as the other generous lead donors who are leveraging their resources to help us create a more livable future."
The school will focus on three broad areas, earth, climate and society, under the leadership of Arun Majumdar, who will serve as the inaugural dean. Majumdar is a professor of mechanical engineering and former co-director of the university's Precourt Institute for Energy.
The school is expected to debut with 90 current faculty members and add 60 more over the next decade.
CAN YOU SOLVE IT? ... Palo Altans have a chance to challenge their brains through a citywide scavenger hunt kicking off Saturday, May 7.
The city has teamed up with local organization Solving Fun for the free four-week event, where one puzzle will be released each week. For weeks two through four, the puzzle will be available on Thursdays at noon.
Here's how it works: Participants can download and print the puzzles at solvingfun.com/paloalto, or pick up a printed set at the Mitchell Park or Lucie Stern community centers. Every challenge takes players to a different part of the city where they'll search for a sign with a series of bold letters. Organizers note that the signs won't be hidden or buried and will be placed on public property. "You will not need to damage anything to find them," directions posted on Solving Fun's website state.
Once players write down the letters, they can put them together for that week's final answer, which can be entered through a Google Form on Solving Fun's website or written on the printed form and dropped off at any city community center.
Players can enter into a drawing each week for their shot at prizes. Those who complete all four weeks of puzzles can figure out the final location based on all the answers from the previous weeks and a last set of puzzles. The ultimate drawing will be for a grand prize of Palo Alto goods, according to Solving Fun's website. For more information, visit solvingfun.com/paloalto.