About Us

We live in an era in which successful individuals are rethinking the concept of life journey. Increasing global life expectancy and a rapid increase in the number of talented, accomplished professionals has caused a shift towards longer careers and the desire to contribute beyond the typical retirement age.  We believe that higher education can play a role for those who have already been successful in one or more career pathways and who are looking for a new direction.

The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute is an opportunity for highly accomplished individuals from all walks of life who are eager to transform themselves for roles with social impact at the local, national, and global levels. Our yearlong program utilizes the wealth of innovation and knowledge from one of the world’s finest universities to create a new, enriching professional and personal journey for the next stage of life.

The Path to New Endeavors

A highly personalized curriculum for each fellow includes discussion seminars that highlight both the intellectual richness of Stanford and personal transformation; opportunities to audit classes and participate in intergenerational learning  at all levels in departments and interdisciplinary programs; think tanks  on major societal and intellectual issues; and the construction of a purpose pathway for each fellow. Faculty advisors provide guidance and support.

To promote future longevity and success, each fellow has the opportunity for a personal health assessment that includes a health, exercise, and personal well-being plan. We provide a list of individuals and organizations that provide transition-planning services that fellows may pursue on an individual basis and at their own expense. The list includes executive coaching and executive search firms that may be helpful as transition resources. Finally, systematic data gathering provide insights to be shared among our community and advance our understanding of life-career transitions.

A Network for Life

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the program is the set of relationships formed – both during this year at Stanford and for many years to come. We encourage dialogue among fellows, their spouses or partners, mentors, students, faculty, and community members. Participants have community space on campus to interact with each other informally.  Social events ranging from walks and hikes to participation in the arts and athletics programs at Stanford are offered.  Dinner meetings with leaders from across the university and Silicon Valley provoke dialogue and debate on important issues.

An Exciting Year at Stanford and the Silicon Valley

Stanford is one of the most creative, energetic, entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary learning environments in the world. The University is located in the middle of Silicon Valley, an innovative and entrepreneurial environment that seeks new ideas to change the world. Stanford’s culture is about taking chances and moving into unchartered territory, about creating the future while building on the accomplishments and wisdom of the past – the perfect environment for shaping a future of ongoing contributions.  The perspectives and life experience of each fellow provide the platform for an exciting year of reinvention.

Learning from Each Other

Insights from a seminal program, the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI), which began at Harvard University in 2008, contributed to the design of Stanford’s program. Programs like the ALI and the DCI offer a new way for universities to engage individuals throughout their life journeys, and to create a future that promotes healthy, productive and values-based lives and communities, locally and globally. We invite you to join us in making this vision a reality.