Around The World In A Single Stroke
Gerhard Casper and Kofi Annan
Photo by Rod Searcey


President Emeritus, Stanford University

Esteemed Scholar of Constitutional Law

  • A lifelong leader in academia and esteemed scholar of constitutional law
  • Honorary doctorates from Yale and Uppsala Universities
  • Elected to membership in The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The International Academy of Comparative Law, The Order Pour le Merite for the Sciences and Arts, and The American Philosophical Society

Gerhard Casper is President Emeritus of Stanford University and the Peter and Helen Bing Professor in Undergraduate Education at Stanford. He is also a Professor of Law, a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Professor of Political Science (by courtesy).

Born in 1937, Gerhard Casper grew up in Hamburg, the port city on the Elbe River. Mr. Casper studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg, where, in 1961, he earned his first law degree. He attended Yale Law School, obtaining his Master of Laws degree in 1962. He then returned to Freiburg, where he received his doctorate in 1964. He has been awarded honorary doctorates, most recently in law from Yale and in philosophy from Uppsala.

In the fall of 1964, Mr. Casper emigrated to the United States, spending two years as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1966, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, and between 1979 and 1987 served as Dean of the Law School. In 1989, Mr. Casper was appointed Provost of the University of Chicago. He served as President of Stanford University from 1992-2000.

Mr. Casper 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

His books include a monograph on legal realism (Berlin, 1967), an empirical study of the Supreme Court's workload (Chicago, 1976, with Richard A. Posner), as well as Separating Power (Cambridge, MA, 1997) concerning the separation of powers practices at the end of the 18th century in the United States. About the Stanford presidency, he wrote Cares of the University (Stanford, CA, 1997). He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and occasional pieces.

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 merite fur Wissenschaften und Kunste (Order pour le merite for the Sciences and Arts) (1993), and the American Philosophical Society (1996).

At present, Mr. Casper serves as a successor trustee of Yale University, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Central European University in Budapest, and a member of the Trilateral Commission. He is also a member of various additional boards, including the Council of the American Law Institute and the Board of the American Academy in Berlin.