Stanford welcomes newest members of Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame
Four Stanford community members were honored for their outstanding leadership at a ceremony during Reunion Homecoming.
Four members of the Stanford community are the latest to be inducted into the Multicultural Hall of Fame, which recognizes diverse alumni leaders for their exceptional service to the university and society.
Jan Barker Alexander; Aly Kassam-Remtulla, ’98; Thomas Blair Matheson, ’84; and Miriam Rivera, ’86, AM ’89, JD/MBA ’94, were honored at a ceremony last Friday afternoon at the Tresidder Oak Lounge. The event opened with an introduction from James Ambroise, ’92, chair of the Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors. That was followed by remarks from Provost Persis Drell, who commended this year’s inductees for their service.
“You are exemplary leaders who have made important and lasting contributions in your fields and to your communities,” Drell said. “Through your work, you have had an impact across generations, across communities, and across the country.”
Now in its 27th year, the Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame honors alumni, and occasionally other Stanford affiliates, for their service to their ethnic and cultural communities. The award is sponsored by the Stanford Alumni Association and winners are selected by Stanford’s four ethnic community centers: the Black Community Services Center, the Asian American Activities Center, the Native American Cultural Center, and El Centro Chicano y Latino. The winners are honored every autumn during Reunion Homecoming.
More than 100 alumni have been inducted into the Multicultural Hall of Fame. Following are the 2022-23 Multicultural Alumni award winners.
Jan Barker Alexander; Black Community Services Center
Jan Barker Alexander’s career at Stanford spans 27 years. She was most recently the assistant vice provost and executive director of the Centers for Equity, Community, and Leadership and the offices of First-Generation and/or Low-Income Programs and Military-Affiliated Communities. She led the Black House for 20 years as associate dean of students and director of the Black Community Services Center. She has created programs that serve as a national model of excellence for intellectual engagement, leadership, development, inclusion, belonging, and social justice. In 2006, she became the resident fellow of Ujamaa House. In 2020, that position was the first RF role at Stanford to be endowed and is named after Barker Alexander.
In her acceptance speech, Barker Alexander said she has been blessed to work with amazing colleagues at Stanford. “This community continues to take care of students,” she said. “I am impressed with what I see and I will forever be grateful for this community.”
Barker Alexander is from Franklinton, Louisiana. She received a BA in journalism from Louisiana State University and a MEd from Southern University, a historically Black college. She recently retired from Stanford and has accepted a position at LSU.
Aly Kassam-Remtulla, ’98; Asian American Activities Center
Aly Kassam-Remtulla is the chief international officer of Princeton University, where he leads a team of 270 professionals that champion global engagement, advocates for international students and scholars, and oversees the university’s global footprint, which includes a 50,000-acre campus in Kenya. He is a faculty adviser for undergraduates and teaches a seminar on Muslims in the United States. Prior to Princeton, he was a program officer at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. He is chair of the board of the United World College-USA and a trustee of Allegheny College. He also served on the board of the national American Civil Liberties Union for 12 years. A devoted Stanford volunteer, he has served on the boards of the Stanford Alumni Association and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. For his contributions to Stanford, he has received several accolades, including the Governors’ Award granted by Stanford Associates.
In his acceptance speech, Kassam-Remtulla recounted the ways in which his ancestors served. He also recalled that when he and his husband decided to start a family, a friend said that the most lasting influence one can have is through the values imparted to children.
“To unselfishly serve others is a deeply held value, maybe even an impulse, that I have both witnessed and absorbed,” he said. “And I hope that [my children] will observe our multi-generational commitment to service and find their own ways to carry out service in the future and in the family tradition.”
Kassam-Remtulla was born in Kenya and raised in Canada. He received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford and a doctorate at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His commentary has appeared in Stanford magazine, Wired, the Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Thomas Blair Matheson, ’84; Native American Cultural Center
Thomas Blair Matheson is medical director of National Medical Resources Inc. His North Dakota practice in general surgery and emergency medicine generously serves Native American and rural populations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Matheson donated his time and skills to frontline medical service in Native American communities throughout the west. He serves as a physician to the National American Indian Rodeo Association. While at Stanford, he nurtured his love of horses by spending time at the Red Barn and with the equestrian team. He also engaged in generous giving in support of young equestrians in the Western Riding Program.
“I owe [Stanford] a debt of gratitude that I can never repay. But I try to repay it every day,” Matheson said, adding that Stanford, “gave me the opportunity to be my best, and for that I will be forever grateful.”
Matheson is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He graduated from Stanford with an AB in human biology. He received an MD from the University of Oklahoma. He shares his lifetime commitment to Indigenous wellness through leadership of the Association of American Indian Physicians.
Miriam Rivera, ’86, AM ’89, JD/MBA ’94; El Centro Chicano y Latino
Rivera is CEO, co-founder, and managing director of Ulu Ventures, a top seed-stage venture fund in Silicon Valley that’s focused on IT startups. Previously, Rivera was vice president and deputy general counsel at Google, where she joined as the second attorney. Her work to simplify contracts helped Google scale from $85 million to $10 billion in five years. She was a trustee at Stanford and has been honored with the Stanford Medal, which is awarded to fewer than 1% of alumni. She is a board member of the Kauffman Foundation, where she serves as chair of the investment committee. She recently joined the board of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that creates the iconic Sesame Street program. She also serves as an adviser to the Launch with GS Advisory Council, which is a Goldman Sachs initiative to reduce the investing gap for Black and Latinx founders. She recently completed four years of service on the investment committee for Acumen Fund America.
“Many of us come to this campus with a personal dream. And in many ways, I didn’t even know what the dream was,” Rivera said. “But I have come to realize that a huge part of what Stanford gave me was this community.”
Rivera hails from Chicago and is the daughter of migrant farmworkers. She earned a BA in sociology from Stanford in 1986, an AM in Spanish from Stanford in 1989, and a JD/MBA from Stanford in 1994.