Academic leader and classics scholar Richard Saller became Stanford University’s twelfth president on September 1, 2023.
Dr. Saller is a scholar of Roman history who has previously served in several academic leadership roles, including as dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford, provost of the University of Chicago, and dean of the Social Sciences Division of the University of Chicago. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Saller has also published widely on Roman social, economic, and cultural history.
Dr. Saller was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He earned his undergraduate degrees in history and ancient Greek at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1974, and his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1978. He was a research fellow at Cambridge and has held faculty positions at Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago, where he was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1992.
Dr. Saller’s scholarly interests are in Roman social, economic, and cultural history. He has focused on what literary, legal, and documentary evidence illuminate about social networks, family relations, human capital, and economic production. His books include Personal Patronage under the Early Empire; The Roman Empire: Economy, Society and Culture (with Peter Garnsey); Patriarchy, Property and Death in the Roman Family; and Pliny’s Roman Economy: Natural History, Innovation and Growth. In addition, he co-edited The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World.
In 1994, Dr. Saller was appointed Dean of the Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Saller served as the tenth provost of the University of Chicago. As provost, he oversaw the expansion of the university’s humanities and social sciences library and the construction of new residences, maintained high standards for faculty recruitment, and supported the development of a new university art center.
Dr. Saller came to Stanford in 2007 to serve as Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. He held this position through August 2018, when he stepped down to return to teaching. As dean of Stanford’s largest school, Dr. Saller was a strong advocate for the humanities, arts, and sciences. He recruited and retained world-class faculty, bolstered enrollment in humanities courses, increased endowed chairs and graduate fellowships, and focused on providing researchers with the resources they need to make significant contributions to their fields. He also oversaw the construction of major new arts and sciences facilities.
From 2021 – 2023, Dr. Saller served as chair of the Classics Department at Stanford. Since 2022, he has also been faculty director of the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, a program that helps accomplished leaders in mid-life reinvent their lives and careers with social impact in mind.
Stanford’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Saller to serve as the university’s 12th president while the board conducts a search for the university’s next president. As president, Dr. Saller’s emphasis is on sustaining excellence in Stanford’s core mission of teaching and research and maintaining the university’s strength across disciplines. He is dedicated to ensuring that faculty have the resources they need to make new discoveries and excel in teaching. He is also committed to ensuring that students have opportunities to dive deeply into their chosen fields, grow in their knowledge and skills, and build supportive and diverse communities during their years at Stanford.
Dr. Saller is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on numerous advisory committees and non-profit boards, including the boards of the National Opinion Research Center, the University of Chicago Hospitals, and the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong.