Stanford University Human Resources
Larry Horton says his time as a Stanford student in the ‘60s created in him an enduring love for learning. It’s still a “magical place” for him and he’s proud to be a member of the Stanford staff that supports “the great work of the University.”
The main quad is and will always remain the iconic face of Stanford, but it is also very personal to me. Most of my classes as a student were in History Corner, and I worked from an office in the main quad for thirty-nine years. The most exciting place for me now is the new Arts District and the glorious new Bing Concert Hall.
Representing Stanford for many years on federal issues in Washington, on state issues in Sacramento, and on Stanford’s land use and community issues with our surrounding local governments was an honor, a heavy responsibility, and enormously satisfying. I worked just as hard, however, for six-years as Associate Dean for Residential Education during the sea-change conversion of Stanford student housing from virtually all single-sex housing to virtually all coeducational housing with a much more diverse population. I had two very different careers here, both working with wonderful colleagues all doing good work.
The day I arrived at Stanford to enroll as a student I was awestruck and thrilled to be here. It never crossed my mind that I would be here for most of my life. I did not plan to stay here. Like so much of life, it just happened. I never lost the sense of awe and appreciation that I felt that first day. I have regularly thought of how much we have here. That thought is with me as I attend lectures and programs, as I walk throughout the campus, as I meet interesting people, as I visit the Cantor Center, and as I attend concerts at the Bing. I really do think of it all the time.
What I enjoyed most was being part of the Stanford team. My work involved working with faculty and staff throughout the institution, and everything that I did that was worthwhile was a team effort that always involved multiple offices. Stepping back, I can see great changes in almost all aspects of Stanford from to the time I entered in 1960 until today. These changes did not just happen. They were the result of aggressive entrepreneurialism by the faculty and some of the staff. I was but one of many staff who contributed to improvements over the past half-century. The level of cooperation and teamwork beyond organizational boundaries was very high. I knew four Stanford presidents well, and I worked very closely with three of them. The spirit of teamwork and respect for others starts right at the top at Stanford with the example set by these presidents.
If you are a new staff hire at Stanford, I congratulate you and welcome you to a workforce that is absolutely essential for the successful operation and future of Stanford University. You will serve Stanford well if you perform your job well. But I think you will enjoy your job more if you make an effort to learn Stanford’s remarkable history. It is easily accessible and all around you. You are now part of this very special institution. There is a rich range of opportunities for you to engage in here. Enjoy them. Don’t just read about others enjoying them. About your work, I have only two tips to pass on: 1) Stanford’s success is due, in part, to deep, ongoing cooperation by staff from different offices working together. Cooperation works and, in my experience, is rewarded. 2) Never get invested in an approach or a decision that provides short run relief but creates a long-term problem. Always take the long view even if it creates a bit of short run distress. You will be better served by the long view and so will Stanford. Here is a video I made showing changes over 50-years at Stanford: http://youtu.be/sQGyYNW6SyQ