Thomas W. Gilligan, who took the helm as the new Tad and Dianne Taube Director at the Hoover Institution in early September, recently addressed staff and fellows about his initial plans and impressions. He began by acknowledging and recognizing his predecessor, John Raisian, who led the institution for twenty-six productive years.
”Hoover is an institution in motion with lots of exciting initiatives under way, including the new expanded presence in Washington, DC, policy education, and fund-raising efforts,” Gilligan said, “so there’s no shortage of important initiatives for a new director to take on.”
As Hoover approaches its centennial anniversary in 2019, Gilligan believes it is an auspicious time to think about its direction in the future. “We’ve had a lot of impact in the first hundred years. We should think about our future goals and what we want the institution to look like in the next hundred years.” He said he aims to kick off a strategic planning exercise in the spring to “begin to answer these important questions.”
“This is a meaningful institution–it always has been. And the job of any director is to ensure that it remains so in the future.”
Q&A with Tom Gilligan
Q: What’s it like coming back as Director of the Hoover Institution twenty-five years after you were here as a National Fellow?
A: The values of the institution and the quality of its staff and scholars remain the same. The institution is larger and its impact grander than when I was here last. The contribution of the Hoover Institution to the academic mission of Stanford is also more significant and evident.
Q: How has your career journey led you to the Hoover directorship?
A: Circuitously. The first twenty years of my career were spent on producing scholarship and teaching courses in the social sciences, broadly defined. These disciplines constitute the intellectual foundation of most of the work done at Hoover. The past eleven years I’ve been in positions of leadership in large-scale academic institutions. I think these disparate sets of tasks have prepared me well to lead the Hoover Institution into its second century.
Q: You’ve been in the saddle for nearly a month. What are your first impressions?
A: The Hoover Institution is a great institution with a bright future. I am honored to be involved with its mission.
Q: What’s your vision for the Hoover Institution?
A: Hoover’s mission is to generate and disseminate ideas essential for a free and prosperous society. My vision is that Hoover’s mission will have an even greater impact than it already does on advancing human well-being.
Q: Do you see a role for expanded efforts in education?
A: Yes. The work product of Hoover’s Fellowship is of paramount value not only in the formulation of public policy, but also in the education of students and citizens. I think Hoover’s future will involve even more focus on educating Americans about key public policy precepts.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: Golf and watch baseball.