Angela Nomellini and Ram Shriram are the recipients of the 2023-24 Gold Spike Award. (Image credit: Steve Castillo)

Distinguished university citizens Angela Nomellini, ’75, and Ram Shriram, are this year’s recipients of the Gold Spike Award, Stanford’s highest annual honor for volunteer service. President Richard Saller conferred the awards at an April 20 dinner held in their honor.

The Gold Spike Award is presented by Stanford Associates, an honorary organization of Stanford alumni who have demonstrated significant and long-standing volunteer service to the university. The award is named for the gold spike that was the final link in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, driven home by California Senator Leland Stanford in Promontory, Utah, in 1869. A century later, the university established the Gold Spike Award as Stanford’s highest annual honor for volunteer leadership service. Stanford Associates assumed responsibility for the award in 1973.

Angela Nomellini “has brought unparalleled dedication to Stanford for 25 years, with a singular passion for the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Stanford Athletics,” Stanford Associates said in its announcement. “Revered across the university for her deep knowledge, unflagging generosity, and boundless enthusiasm, Angela is a tremendous volunteer leader, fundraiser, advisor, ambassador, and fan.”

A longtime member of the GSE’s Advisory Council (including seven years as chair), Nomellini has been integral in charting the school’s direction. She has acted as a trusted counselor to several deans, served on a GSE dean search committee, and been a key driver in the creation of the new GSE campus – including serving on the Architectural Design Task Force and catalyzing the school’s momentum to break ground with her and husband Ken Olivier’s naming gift. She also served for over a decade on the Stanford New Schools Board, which established the East Palo Alto Academy (EPAA), and continues to champion EPAA’s success.

Nomellini is an ardent proponent and benefactor of Stanford Athletics and was an influential member of the Athletics Board for 10 years. Her time on the board coincided with two director searches and the construction of the new Stanford Stadium. More recently, on the steering committee of the Stanford Athletics Women’s Initiative, Nomellini worked to develop programming and fundraising goals designed to elevate and celebrate women’s sports.

Ram Shriram “is an intellectually curious changemaker whose far-reaching impact reflects his extraordinary generosity of spirit,” according to Stanford Associates. “A visionary leader across the university, he has been a staunch advocate and dynamic fundraiser for groundbreaking efforts including bioengineering and AI, as well as a trusted advisor on matters impacting the entire institution.”

A parent of two Stanford alumni, Shriram has served two terms on the Board of Trustees (including as vice chair), where he was known for his wide-ranging expertise and strategic counsel. As a trustee, he led the Board’s Special Committee on Online Education; sat on committees for academic policy, planning and management, agenda, compensation, development, finance, globalization, land and buildings, and trusteeship; and was an advisor to current and past university presidents and chairs of the board.

Stanford leaders credit Shriram with helping numerous schools and initiatives reach their strategic objectives. He has co-chaired the People-Centered Computing Task Force, spent seven years on the Stanford SEED Advisory Board, and currently serves on both the Stanford Health Care Board of Directors and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Advisory Board. Shriram and his wife, Vijay Shriram, also served on the Parents’ Advisory Board, and the couple has been instrumental in supporting Stanford’s Data Science initiative, the new GSE campus, Stanford Medicine, and advances in synthetic biology.