Gerhard Casper

gerhard headshot

Gerhard Casper, PhD

  • Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
  • Peter and Helen Bing Professor in Undergraduate Education, Emeritus
  • Professor of Law, Emeritus
  • President Emeritus of Stanford University

Stanford University
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305-6060

(650) 723-2482 (voice)


Gerhard Casper was Stanford University’s ninth president. He is the Peter and Helen Bing Professor, emeritus, a professor of law, emeritus, and a professor of political science (by courtesy), emeritus, and a senior fellow at both FSI and SIEPR. From July 2015 to July 2016, he served as president (ad interim) of the American Academy in Berlin. He has written and taught primarily in the fields of constitutional law, constitutional history, comparative law, and jurisprudence.  From 1977 to 1991, he was an editor of The Supreme Court Review.

Casper was the president of Stanford University from 1992 to 2000 and served as director of FSI from September 2012 through June 2013. Before coming to Stanford, he was on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School (starting in 1966), served as dean of the law school from 1979 to 1987, and served as provost of the University of Chicago from 1989 to 1992. From 1964 to 1966, he was an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

His books include a monograph on legal realism (Berlin, 1967), an empirical study of the workload of the U.S. Supreme Court (Chicago, 1976, with Richard A. Posner), as well as Separating Power (Cambridge, MA, 1997) about practices concerning the separation of powers at the end of the 18th century in the United States. From his experiences as the president of Stanford, he wrote Cares of the University (1997). His most recent book, The Winds of Freedom—Addressing Challenges to the University, was published by Yale University Press in February 2014. He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and occasional papers.

He has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute (1977), the International Academy of Comparative Law, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1980), the Order pour le mérite for the Sciences and Arts (1993), and the American Philosophical Society (1996). From 2000-2008, he served as a successor trustee of Yale University; from 2007-2014, as a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development; and from 2008-2016, as a trustee of the Terra Foundation for American Art. He is a member of international advisory councils at the Israel Democracy Institute (chairman since 2014), the European University at St. Petersburg, and Koç University, Istanbul.

Born in Germany in 1937, he studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg; in 1961, he earned his first law degree. He attended Yale Law School, obtaining his Master of Laws degree in 1962, and then returned to Freiburg, where he received his doctorate in 1964. He immigrated to the United States in 1964. He has been awarded honorary doctorates, most recently in law from both Yale University and Bard College, and in philosophy from both Uppsala University and the Central European University.

In The News


Casper awarded for service to American Law Institute

cover link Casper awarded for service to American Law Institute