Board: Richard Atkinson

Richard Atkinson

Richard Atkinson is President Emeritus of the University of California and Chancellor Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego.

As Director of the National Science Foundation, he enacted national and international science policies that included negotiating the first memorandum of understanding between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. He was a long-standing faculty member at Stanford University, serving as Professor of Psychology and holding appointments in the School of Engineering, the School of Education, the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Laboratories, and the Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences. Dr. Atkinson’s research into problems of memory and cognition has helped to clarify the relationship between brain structures and psychological phenomena, explaining the effects of drugs on memory and formulation of techniques to optimize learning. He developed one of the first computer-controlled systems for education—a prototype for the commercial development of computer-assisted instruction, which focused primarily on reading for young schoolchildren.

A co-founder of the Computer Curriculum Corporation, Dr. Atkinson made significant scientific contributions that resulted in his election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. Past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is former chair of the Association of American Universities. A mountain in Antarctica has been named in his honor.