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Leader of the Pack
A scholarship from Wallace Hawley, '60, honors the president of the Stanford Alumni Association.
When Wallace "Wally" Hawley, '60, joined the board of directors of the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) last year, the breadth of its activities astonished him. "They do reunions. They do the magazine. They do trips. They do Sierra Camp," he observes. A lot of that high volume, he noted, seemed motivated by the enthusiasm and expertise of its leader, Howard Wolf, '80.
Hawley was moved to action. In November, he gave $500,000 to the university to establish an undergraduate scholarship in Wolf’s honor. The gift is an expendable fund that will support students over the next seven years. Known as the Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors Undergraduate Scholarship, it is the first scholarship to pay tribute to SAA.
Wolf, who has served SAA as president since 2001, says the gesture floored him. He is also quick to add that his staff members in SAA are the real movers and shakers. "I am humbled that Wally—who is essentially an expert on leadership due to his many years as a board member in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds—would deem us worthy of such affirmation," he says.
Hawley is indeed an experienced leader; from his home base in Atherton, he serves on nine different boards. "People ask, 'How do you keep up with nine boards?'" Hawley says. "It's very simple. You just back A+ guys like Howard Wolf. When I see somebody who's really spectacular as an individual, I want to acknowledge it."
SAA was established in 1892 by the university's first graduates. It now serves the more than 211,000 university alumni who live in 138 countries, 18 territories, and all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia). How to reach more of these alums is what preoccupies Wolf in his office on the third floor of the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center on campus.
Helping SAA with this task is a corps of more than 11,000 dedicated alumni volunteers. Wolf himself was an SAA volunteer for two decades before leaving the world of business (he founded FastMark, a publishing and licensing company) for his post on the Farm.
"Our goal is to create lifelong intellectual and emotional connections between the university and its graduates that will foster goodwill and support for Stanford," says Wolf.
Hawley is certainly an avid fan of Stanford. He previously established a directorship at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). His interest in finance is partly professional: Hawley made his mark by co-founding the venture capital firm InterWest Partners in 1979.
Rather than retire, Hawley has preferred what he calls "redeployment." In addition to his service on the SAA board, he is chairman emeritus of the SIEPR Advisory Board and a national trustee of Young Life, among numerous other organizations. He has guest lectured at the Graduate School of Business in Professor Jack McDonald's finance class since 1983. "I just have a great affinity for the university," he says.
Clearly he and Wolf share that. Both were Stanford undergrads before detouring to Harvard for MBAs. They also share an enthusiasm for SAA's latest venture: Stanford+Connects, an 18-city outreach tour that will commence this spring, starting with Phoenix in April and Minneapolis in May.
Hawley says with Wolf at the helm, it's going to be something to see.
"You get guys like that and all you have to do is applaud. And then you say, how can I help you?"