“Sure, You Are Ready.”

by Mercedes Gail Gutierrez Sure, you are prepared for life with a Stanford degree, credibility, proof of excellence, STANFORD seal of authenticity, SU branding. You are certain you are prepared but Life will throw you entirely different problems, challenges and opportunities that you NEVER imagined.  You can do it, just stay loose in your knees, bounce on the balls of your feet, be ready to turn, pivot, go. This is the best thing I learned at Stanford, “Be ready to turn and take it on.” How? I returned to the Farm from Stanford in France, Group VIII. My pre-med advisor recommended I switch majors. What, change my direction after years of science and math? Why not? I became a Studio Art major in the middle of my junior year and intensively studied art. Way behind other Studio Art majors I had a lot of hand-eye technique to learn but I did and graduated with Honors.  While at the post office changing my address, I bump into my printmaking professor, he suggests I apply for a Fulbright-Hays fellowship, at large. I spend a Fulbright year in Madrid. Returning to California, my plans to marry fall apart, so I end up earning a Masters in Sculpture from U.C. Berkeley and showing my work in Bay Areas museums, colleges and galleries. Married, a child and I am in Southern Illinois, I am elected to the married graduate student council and initiate student gardens, softball teams, childcare program, new playgrounds and receive an offer from the university to be an assistant dean of graduate affairs. This life was not what I planned. My son was three so I create a Saturday art program at the nursery school site in exchange for...

The Stanford Card

by Helen Gebhardt Stanford has been an extremely important part of my life, from the many friendships I made to volunteer and work relationships later on.  Obtaining my first job epitomizes its importance.   Graduating in 1948, I applied for a job as secretary at a large local company.  Back then, women were somewhat limited in their options.  The job I was offered–and turned down–was as a stenographer in their accounting department.  I explained that I believed my Stanford education qualified me for something better.  The next day I was offered, and accepted, the job as secretary to a top executive. While raising my family in Salt Lake City, I engaged in volunteer activities.  Returning to Boise, just as my children were ready for college, led me to return to the “World of Work.”  I, again, believe my Stanford credentials and volunteer experiences were vital to the job hunt.  My two sons became professionals (many years of college) and I was happy to contribute to their successes! My roles in these later working years were as Public Relations Officer for the Boise Schools, and then a move to the State Department of Education in the same capacity.  There I was able to chair the Teacher in Space project for our State (every state participated).  We had two of the top ten finalists, with Barbara Morgan (another Stanford graduate), the back-up to Christa MacAuliffe, who ultimately traveled into...

Never Give Up

by Martha Horst When I came to Stanford in 1985, I thought I was going to be a chemical engineer.  Within five minutes of arriving on campus, however, I found the music building.  It was home for me.  It was where I was meant to be. I switched majors my sophomore year and ended up completing a double major in Values, Technology, Science and Society and Music.  Through the support of my professors, I went to graduate school and earned a Ph.D. in music theory and composition.  There were not a lot of women composers then and there are not a lot now.   I never let that bother me. Currently, I am a professor of music theory and composition at Illinois State University.  It took me a long time to realize my dream of obtaining a tenure track job in academics; I never gave up on my dream.  It sounds trite, but it is an important piece of advice for any young person. My job involves teaching young composers and music majors and writing music.  Currently, I live in Helsinki, Finland with my husband and two young children.  We are both on sabbatical.  I am balancing my time between writing pieces for various music groups and taking care of my small children.  It has been a wonderful experience – something that I did not even dream of doing when I was an undergraduate at Stanford. When I graduated Stanford, I dreamed about what I wanted to do with my life, but had no idea how I would do it.  I followed that dream and never gave up.  Although at...

Bring Joy into Someone’s Life Every Day

by Jane Fetter  I graduated in 1958 and have always been proud of my election to Cap & Gown. The world and Stanford (I should know as I have had two children and one grandchild graduate from there  another is currently a junior) were different places. I married between my Junior and senior year, which was unusual. My husband received his MBA as I received my BA. My three children were born before I was 25, which wasn’t unusual, and I became a career volunteer. Although Stanford and my upbringing gave me the inner self confidence to feel I could have accomplished anything, my family always came first and therefore I remained on the path of being a wife, mother and volunteer. I have had the pleasure to serve Stanford in various volunteer capacities and also to be able to assist my children as needed. I became my youngest daughter’s “nanny” as she pursued Olympic dreams (a bronze and a silver). I don’t feel there is any advice that I didn’t have when I was 20. My father always told me: to bring joy into someone’s life every day, and to live my life as though it would be on the front page of the paper the next day.                                           ...

Take Your Cookies When They’re Passed: A conversation with Jean Coblentz

At age ninety, Jean is writing a book called Take Your Cookies When They’re Passed. Cookies, or opportunities, come unexpectedly, not necessarily when you’re looking for them. She encourages all of us to “keep your mind open, and prepare yourself for taking advantage of opportunities. Study your surroundings, and you will create positive change that will help you attain current and long-term plans for the things that you feel are important for your own talents and those of others.” Jean started writing the book one year ago in a memoir writing class for elders. One of her classmates asked who gave her the first cookie that changed her life, and Jean replied with a story. In the mid-1970’s, Jean was Chairman of the Tally Ho Horse Show, a program to raise money for children at Stanford Children’s Hospital. When the fundraiser was over, Jean wrote thank you notes to all who had participated, including to Dick Bennett. A few days later, Dick called Jean and asked if she had ever considered working for him at Stanford. She told him that she had not, whereupon he invited her to work with him in the Office of Development. Years later, when Jean asked why he chose her, he said, “We have about 75 people who run programs here, and yours is the only time that anybody has written me a thank you note.” That marked the beginning of over two decades during which Jean worked as a development officer at Stanford. She says, “Everything came out of that thank you note. That’s how I got started, and I’m still there. I don’t currently go to the office, and I don’t get a check, but that’s not important...

Cap and Gown Boston Brunch

by Addie Swartz An energetic group of Cap & Gowners gathered at Addie Swartz’s home in Concord, MA on Saturday morning (April 2nd) to commemorate the 110th anniversary of Cap & Gown. Guests arrived at 10:30. We had a wonderful brunch where we introduced ourselves and shared some memories of our “tapping” experience, as well as what life was like when we were each on campus — experiences which spanned over 50 years (1961 – 2013)! We pulled up some FAQ’s from the Cap & Gown website and then played a game with the great Alumni playing cards that Addie had (the 52 things you should do before you graduate). We each took some cards and took turns talking about which experiences were around when we were each at school. All in all, it was a great event! We wanted to share some comments with our west coast compatriots. So here goes: C&G Boston Brunch 2016 “How much fun to re-live fun adventures at the Farm! As a class of ’61 alum, I was amazed at how many adventures I had never experienced! “~ Jonnet Holladay ’61 “Great fun to be with other Stanford women and to catch up on the new traditions!”  ~ Lisa Leslie Henderson ’83 “Loved getting to meet Cap & Gown alumnae from the Boston area! It was wonderful to hear how we all connect to ​&​ remember our days on the Farm” ~ Doria Charlson ’13 “The Boston Cap & Gown brunch was a super way to reconnect with Stanford. Hearing about Stanford & Cap & Gown experiences from 1961 to 2013 was so fun! Definitely...