Canales and McCaw receive university’s highest volunteer service honor

Alumni JIM CANALES, ’88, MA ’89 and SUSAN R. McCAW, ’84, are this year’s recipients of the Gold Spike Award, Stanford’s highest honor for volunteer service.

Jim Canales
Jim Canales. (Courtesy of the Stanford Alumni Association)

The Gold Spike Award is presented annually by Stanford Associates, an honorary organization of about 3,100 Stanford alumni who have demonstrated significant and long-standing volunteer service to the university. President MARC TESSIER-LAVIGNE conferred the awards at a recent dinner.

According to the Stanford Associates’ announcement, Canales has been recognized for “wise counsel, remarkable leadership, breadth of insights and ability to navigate challenging issues with seemingly effortless diplomacy….”

His service has included leadership roles on the Board of Trustees, the Stanford Live Advisory Council and the Alumni Committee on Trustee Nominations. As chair for two of his eight years on the Stanford Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, he helped guide the board through a period of change and earned a reputation for his intellect, emotional intelligence and consensus-building ability.

Susan McCaw
Susan McCaw. (Courtesy of the Stanford Alumni Association)

McCaw, according to the Stanford Associates’ announcement, is “one of Stanford’s most accomplished and valued leaders.” The announcement cites her “unfailing generosity, unceasing commitment and unparalleled service…”

A trustee for 10 years, MCaw worked closely with two Stanford presidents and chaired the Globalization and Development committees. She is a key member of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Global Advisory Board, and with her husband, founded the Craig and Susan McCaw Undergraduate Scholarship Fund in support of international undergraduate financial aid. Additionally, she serves on the advisory council of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) board and the executive committee at the Hoover Institution.

The original Gold Spike was driven home by California Senator Leland Stanford in Promontory, Utah in May 1869, 150 years ago this spring. The final link in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, it has come to symbolize foresight, perseverance and accomplishment. A century later, in 1969, the university established the Gold Spike Award as Stanford’s highest annual honor for volunteer leadership service. In 1973, Stanford Associates assumed responsibility for the award. The honor is commemorated by an engraved brass replica of the historic Gold Spike.