A formidable presence at Stanford and in higher education, Mancall helped transform undergraduate learning by starting the Grove House residential learning project, establishing the vibrant residence-based learning academic program known as Structured Liberal Education (SLE) and re-envisioning the Overseas Studies program. Generations of students and colleagues remember Mancall not only for the breadth and depth of his fierce intellect but also for the spirit of generosity and compassion that animated everything he did.
An expert on the history, religions, languages and cultures of Central and Southeast Asia, Mancall joined the faculty of the Department of History in 1965. Mancall’s dedication to undergraduate education and livelihood was evident immediately after he joined the Farm. In his early days at Stanford, he played an important role in trying to temper student unrest of the late 1960s and guide it toward nonviolent, constructive directions. Upon learning of an empty fraternity house, Mancall helped establish the groundbreaking Grove House, the first co-ed residence on campus – and one of the first in the United States. Considered a daring venture at the time, Grove also hosted in-house seminars, a testament to Mancall’s aspiration of building communities that blended academic and residential life.
Mancall was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor’s degree in Far Eastern languages from the University of California, Los Angeles. He then went on to Harvard University, where he earned his master’s degree in East Asian regional studies and his doctorate in history and Far Eastern languages.