Trish Del Pozzo, assistant academic secretary, emerita, dead at 76

Trish Del Pozzo, assistant academic secretary, emerita, served as chief administrator for the Office of the Academic Secretary for more than three decades.

Trish Del Pozzo, who served as assistant academic secretary at Stanford for more than three decades until her retirement in 2016, died Sept. 6 at her home in La Honda, California. She was 76.

Trish Del Pozzo, longtime chief administrator for the Faculty Senate and its committees, loved sports cars – and she liked to drive them fast. (Image credit: Courtesy David Trupiano)

Del Pozzo, who began her career at the university in the Office of the President in 1980, joined the Office of the Academic Secretary in 1984.

As assistant academic secretary, she was the chief administrator for the Faculty Senate and its committees, as well as serving as historian, archivist, elections official, assistant parliamentarian and office manager. She was responsible for keeping the Faculty Senate, Steering Committee, Committee on Committees, and Planning and Policy Boards running smoothly, as well as handling special projects.

Over the decades, Del Pozzo worked with 32 faculty members who had been elected to one-year terms as senate chairs. She taught them how the senate and faculty governance worked at Stanford, educated them about rules and policies, and advised them on best practices for dealing with issues and running meetings.

In June 2010, the senate surprised Del Pozzo with a public tribute, presenting her with a 30-year pin, a turquoise Native American necklace and a resolution – read aloud by the senate chair – acknowledging her invaluable assistance: “Whereas, while the chairs of the senate may have held the gavel, she guided them, brightening their path with grace, good humor and remarkable attention to detail.”

A year later, she joined in the traditional end-of-the-year skit honoring the outgoing chair from the School of Medicine, in which she played a nurse in a white lab coat, her long blonde hair streaming out beneath a crisp white nurse’s cap.

Over the decades, Del Pozzo worked with seven emeriti faculty members who served as academic secretaries, including Rex Jamison, a professor emeritus of medicine who held the post from 2007 to 2014.

“Trish was a great mentor – no question,” said Jamison, who had served two terms as a senator decades earlier. “I came in pretty unschooled, but had the good sense to listen to Trish, who was a great teacher. She had a remarkable memory. I didn’t have to go to Roberts Rules of Order to get an answer to a question, I just talked to Trish.”

On the eve of Del Pozzo’s retirement, the Office of the Academic Secretary assembled written testimonials from faculty members and created Trish Del Pozzo: A Tribute to Excellence, a document in which they expressed their fondness, respect and admiration for her “life of unfailing support” for Stanford’s system of academic governance.

In the introduction, Hans N. Weiler, a professor of education and political science, emeritus, and academic secretary wrote: “All of us who, in one capacity or another, have over the years participated in this effort at cooperative governance owe Trish Del Pozzo a weighty debit of gratitude for her support, her encouragement and her good humor.”

Among the accolades that appeared in the tribute:

  • “She is largely responsible for the excellent esprit de corps of the Academic Secretary’s Office, from the academic secretary down to the several support staff.”
  • “Her extensive knowledge of Stanford’s policies and the senate’s procedures is invaluable to everyone who interacts with her. She combines that knowledge with a gentle, kind personality – someone who responds to every query anxiously expressed with the right information and encouragement.”
  • “She is resourceful, efficient and thoughtful, dealing with a myriad of expected and unexpected issues that arise in connection with the faculty’s role in university governance.”
  • “In every interaction I had with her, Trish was intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, diplomatic and solution-oriented.”
  • “She knows Stanford inside and out, and it’s in her heart as well as her mind. I truly cannot think of anyone else so devoted to Stanford and indispensable to it.”

Del Pozzo was born in Hollywood, California, on April 21, 1943.

When she arrived at Stanford in 1980, she worked for President Richard W. Lyman (1923-2012), who was succeeded that same year by President Donald Kennedy. Del Pozzo, who had taken a computer course offered by Goodwill Industries just before she was hired, put her new skills to work computerizing the president’s office.

David Trupiano, Del Pozzo’s partner of 37 years, said she loved sports cars – and she liked to drive them fast. Together, they enjoyed sailing along the coastline and in San Francisco Bay, and attending live concerts at Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

A campus service celebrating Del Pozzo’s life and contributions to the university will be announced in Stanford Report when plans are finalized.