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Corporate History

Learn about the key steps in SRI's founding and rise to prominence as a world-class research institute and innovation center.

1925 Robert SwainDr. Robert E. Swain, Stanford University professor of chemistry, championed the idea of an interdisciplinary research institute within the University. Early supporters included Stanford alumnus and trustee, Herbert Hoover, the 31st U.S. President.
1927 Ray Lyman WilburStanford President Ray Lyman Wilbur recommended that an institute plan be developed.
1929 Stanford's annual report presented a faculty proposal for a research institute. The institute idea was tabled in 1930 as the Great Depression spreads.
1939 Stanford's faculty committee discussed the institute idea while meeting at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California. Ray Lyman Wilbur presented the idea to University trustees.
1941 The institute idea was again tabled when the U.S. enters World War II.
Plans for a research foundation were presented to Stanford President Donald Tresidder and Vice President Alvin Eurich, and to California Governor Earl Warren (later the 14th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court). San Francisco businessman Atholl McBean and Ernest Black of the Pacific Research Foundation in Los Angeles met with Eurich at Stanford.
1946 Atholl McBean continued to campaign for a foundation dedicated to research in science, technology, industry, economics, and management. His dedication led to his eventual acknowledgment as the founder, along with the Stanford University Board of Trustees, of Stanford Research Institute.
1946 Stanford University trustees approved in principle the proposal for a research institute. Articles of incorporation for Stanford Research Institute were signed and filed with the state of California on November 6, and SRI was granted nonprofit status. Stanford University trustees elected 11 SRI directors.

SRI's first research project began in this year—an investigation of improving of the guayule plant as a source of rubber.

The institute moved from the Stanford University campus to Stanford Village, the former site of the U.S. Army's Dibble Hospital in Menlo Park, California—still SRI's headquarters today.

William F. Talbot was named SRI's executive director, and Donald B. Tresidder, president of Stanford University, was named SRI's first chairman. At year's end, the institute had seven employees.

Hoot Gibson


Weldon B. "Hoot" Gibson joined SRI as its third staff member and first chairman of business and economics. He held numerous executive roles, including senior director emeritus from 1988 until his death in 2001. Known as "Mr. SRI", Gibson is credited with building SRI’s international programs and bringing SRI to worldwide prominence.




1948 HobsonSRI inaugurated the International Division. The institute had 60 active research projects and 198 staff members. Jesse E. Hobson was named SRI's executive director.
1950 SRI opened its Washington, D.C. facility.
1953 SRI's Poulter Laboratory, named after researcher and explorer Thomas Poulter, was founded, marking the beginning of 60 years of research in the response of materials and structures to impacts, fatigue, explosions, and fractures.
1955 E. Finley Carter became SRI's executive director (a title to be changed to president in 1958). E. Finlay Carter
1955 SRI began a 13-year series of transactions to purchase from Stanford University all the land it presently occupies in Menlo Park, California.
1956 SRI's Molecular Physics Laboratory is founded. The lab performs fundamental and applied research in laser sensors, mass spectroscopy, and atmospheric processes. By year's end, the institute had 742 research projects and a staff of 1,408.
1963 Karl A. FolkersKarl A. Folkers was appointed SRI's president, and SRI opened its Tokyo, Japan office.
1966 SRI's pioneering Artificial Intelligence Center was founded.
1968 Charles A. Anderson became SRI's president.
1970 Stanford Research Institute became independent from Stanford University on January 13.
1977 Stanford Research Institute was renamed SRI International on May 16.

William MillerWilliam F. Miller was named SRI's president.

SRI established the SRI Fellows Award to recognize the technical, scientific, and professional contributions of SRI staff members.

1987 Sarnoff Corporation (then known as RCA Laboratories) became a wholly owned subsidiary of SRI. In 2011, Sarnoff was integrated fully into SRI.
1990 James TietjenJames Tietjen was appointed SRI's president.

Bill SommersWilliam P. Sommers was named SRI's president.

SRI established the Mimi Award as the highest recognition for staff members who have fostered the personal and professional growth of their co-workers.

1996 Commemorating SRI's 50 years, the SRI Alumni Association was established to recognize former staff members whose professional contributions have had significant impact for staff, management, or clients.

Samuel ArmacostBusinessWeek dubbed SRI "Spin-off City"—an innovation engine that creates new businesses to capitalize on SRI technology developments and move them into the marketplace.

Curtis R. Carlson became SRI's president and chief executive officer.

1996 SRI established the Gibson Achievement Award to honor staff members whose contributions have had a noteworthy impact on the standard of living and on the peace and prosperity of society.
2000 Bill Clinton and Douglas EngelbartSRI Senior Technical Advisor Emeritus Dr. Doug Engelbart, inventor of the mouse and other foundations of personal computing, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation—the U.S.' highest technology honor.
2007 With support of state and regional funds, SRI opened new research facilities in Harrisonburg, Virginia and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Vern ClarkAdmiral Vern Clark is named chairman of the SRI Board of Directors.

SRI sold off its spin-off venture Siri to Apple.

2011 SRI subsidiary Sarnoff Corporation, a leader in vision, video, and semiconductor technology innovations, was fully integrated into SRI on January 1.
2012 SRI has conducted more than $4 billion in R&D in the last decade.
2013 SRI has 2,300 employees at 20 locations.

Marianne Byerwalter and William JeffreyMariann Byerwalter is named chairman of the SRI Board of Directors.

William Jeffrey became SRI's president and chief executive officer.

SRI's Phase 1 Clinical Trial and Strategic Development Services facility opened in Plymouth, Michigan.

2015 To expand its capability to meet strategic U.S. Army needs, SRI established a facility in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.