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Susan Taylor wins 2022 Amy J. Blue Award

One of three winners of this year's award, Taylor is honored for her many contributions in her nearly 50 years at Stanford, most recently as the finance manager in the Department of Economics.

Next year, Susan Taylor will mark her 50th year working at Stanford. But her connections to the university go back even further.

Susan Taylor (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

“My dad went to Stanford as an undergrad and always wanted to move back here,” she said.

Originally from Colorado, Taylor moved to Menlo Park as a child when her father, a pediatrician, got a job as medical director of the Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto. She attended the University of California, Davis, and it was while working on a degree in health education that she landed her first big job at Stanford Health Care in 1973.

Since then, Taylor has held many positions at Stanford. She is currently the finance manager in the Department of Economics, where her colleagues praise her work ethic and dedication. For her contributions to the department and to the broader Stanford community, Taylor is a winner of the 2022 Amy J. Blue Award, which recognizes Stanford staff members for their exceptional service and dedication to the university, support for their colleagues, and passion for their work.

In addition to Taylor, this year’s winners include Ken Hsu, assistant vice provost and director of the Graduate Life Office in the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and May-Ling Gonzales, director of alumni relations at Stanford Law School. President Marc Tessier-Lavigne will present the awards at a public ceremony on Wednesday, May 18 at 3:30 p.m. at Lagunita Court. All are welcome to attend.

A wealth of experience

At Stanford Health Care, Taylor worked first in patient accounting and later in patient services as a special accounts representative helping heart transplant and kidney dialysis patients get coverage for their medical bills. Over the years she’s held many other roles at Stanford Health Care, including working for the chief of staff, and jobs in transfusion service, human resources, and the microbiology-virology lab. In the mid-1990s, she moved to the main campus to work at the Bing Nursery School.

“I’ve had such a wonderful variety of jobs and wealth of experiences at Stanford,” she said, adding that it was a personal connection that brought her to the Department of Economics in 2000.

“I followed a beloved boss with whom I had worked at the Medical Center and Bing,” she said. “That’s always been a natural path around Stanford. You go with people you know; relationships are what make Stanford work.”

Today, she is the department’s finance manager, helping faculty, staff, and students with payment and reimbursement issues, supporting research awards, assisting with conferences, seminars, and workshops, and, of course, balancing the budget. Taylor’s colleagues praise her extensive knowledge of university policies and administrative procedures, and her ability to solve problems, describing her as “unfailingly helpful and extraordinarily proficient,” and the “backbone” of the Economics Department.

“Susan is to the Economics Department what the keel is to a big ship: she keeps us on a steady course,” wrote one faculty member who nominated Taylor for the award.

Another wrote, “Susan Taylor makes everyone around her better: more effective, more efficient, more collaborative.”

Nick Bloom, the William D. Eberle Professor in Economics, said that Taylor has been an incredible colleague throughout his nearly 20 years at Stanford, and he praised her knowledge and responsiveness to the needs of the department.

“So many times I have come to her with problems and questions and she has calmly and gently helped me work them out,” Bloom said. “[She is] such a wonderful colleague and the award reflects her huge dedication to Stanford and the department.”

Matthew O. Jackson, the Trione Chair of the Department of Economics and William D. Eberle Professor of Economics, said Taylor embodies what the Amy J. Blue Award is all about.

“Relationships are what make Stanford work.”

—Susan Taylor

“When you go to Susan with a problem to solve, no matter how challenging, she always makes it clear that there is nothing she would rather be doing than helping you out, no matter how many things she is juggling at the same time,” he said.

Taylor’s contributions to Stanford have been recognized twice before. In 1983, she received the Thomas A. Gonda Employee of the Year Award, which honors outstanding Stanford Health Care employees. And in 2009 she was awarded the Arnice P. Streit Service of Excellence Award given each year by the dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. Taylor said the awards are shared honors.

“Every single thing I am able to do is thanks to the help of my teammates, and my colleagues around campus, and in the central offices and services,” she said. “The true honor for all of us is supporting the lifesaving, world-changing work done at Stanford.”

Amy J. Blue

The Amy J. Blue Award is named for Amy J. Blue, a long-time Stanford employee who held numerous positions at the university in the 1970s and 1980s, including associate vice president for administrative services and facilities. Blue died of brain cancer in Palo Alto in 1988. Following her death, an endowment fund was created to honor her legacy by awarding Amy J. Blue Awards to outstanding Stanford staff. Since 1991, 106 Stanford employees have received the award.

Taylor said she never met Amy J. Blue but recalled that they both had children enrolled in Stanford daycare around the same time many years ago.

“I didn’t know her personally, but I’m grateful to be connected to her in this small way and to help carry on her legacy and our shared appreciation for Stanford through this award,” Taylor said.

More information about the award, including the nomination and selection process, is available here.