Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, October 25, 2000
'The warmest of greetings from all the staff''

This is the prepared text of the speech by Susan Schofield, academic secretary, at the inauguration of John L. Hennessy on Friday, Oct. 20, 2000.

President John Hennessy, I'm honored to bring you the warmest of greetings from all of the staff of Stanford University.

Pride, excitement at entering this new millennium under your leadership, great joy -- all these emotions we share with the faculty, students and alumni gathered here this morning.

Stanford's very first staff member, Orrin Leslie Elliott, was among the first 10 names that David Starr Jordan presented to Leland Stanford in 1891. He was appointed as Secretary to the President and Registrar and Acting Instructor in Economics. Elliott served for 30 years, under three presidents, and in 1937, after his retirement, published the first history of Stanford University. Clearly, staff member Number One was a person of many talents and prodigious energy!

Today, 109 years later, Elliott's successors number more than 7,500. We are two-thirds female, one-third minority, and we bring competence, commitment and continuity to an extraordinary array of roles. From the freshmen's first anxious days on campus, we are the cooks and the student service officers who help to make this major transition manageable for them. And all across the Farm, we are also the engineers, the groundskeepers and the steamfitters who care for Stanford's 8,000 acres and 750 buildings. In the academic departments, we are the administrative assistants, the lecturers and the research associates who work with, and for, Stanford's distinguished faculty, contributing directly to the university's excellence in research and teaching. And in schools and central administrative offices, we are accountants, computer system managers, fundraisers . . . and even deans and provosts and presidents.

Orrin Leslie Elliott may have been Stanford's first staff member, but in our eyes you, John L. Hennessy, are now Stanford's premier employee. Your own prodigious energies, your sense of fairness and your openness are already well known and give us optimism for the future. In all of our varied roles, even as many of us struggle in this challenging economy, we pledge our enthusiastic support to you as our leader and to this wonderful place.