Bravman explains Farm exit
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Vice provost, a prolific fundraiser, reflects on 35 years at Stanford
By ERIC MESSINGER
SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR
When the announcement came Monday
that Vice Provost for Undergraduate Edu-
cation John Bravman ‘79 M.S. ‘81 Ph.D. ‘85
would leave Stanford to become the presi-
dent of Bucknell University, it was the same
day he brought home his newborn son,
Cole, from the hospital.
For Bravman, a Farm mainstay for 35
years, the chaotic day was only the most re-
cent convergence of family life and Stan-
ford. He completed his undergraduate edu-
cation at the University, stayed on for grad-
uate study and moved to being a professor
in the last years pursuing his doctorate.
Married to another materials science pro-
fessor, Wendy Wright, residing on campus
and spending “99 percent” of his time here,
Bravman said he often thought he would re-
main here forever.
“I never expected to leave Stanford,”
said Bravman, 52. “I expected to spend my
entire adult life here and retire.”
Speaking to The Daily after the unex-
pected announcement, Bravman laid out
the reasons for his departure, the principal
values and lessons he gained from his time
here and his priorities for his few months
left on campus.
In order to leave for another institution,
Bravman said, he had to avoid direct com-
petition with Stanford by avoiding the mi-
lieu of top-tier research universities.
“It had to be something in my mind that
was a special opportunity but also had to be
a different place from Stanford,” Bravman
The challenge of finding the Stanford
spirit he believed in at an institution operat-
ing in a different sphere, Bravman said, nar-
rowed the possibilities considerably.
“You put all those things together, that’s
actually a small constellation of opportuni-
ties,” he said.
Bravman said he initially turned down
the offer from Bucknell, finding himself
content at Stanford. He was persuaded,
however, to attend dinner in San Francisco
for 30 minutes