Stories from Super School Volunteers

An oft-overlooked reward from volunteering for the GSB is having better dinner companions and stories to tell. Examples are offered by two of this year's winners of John W. Gardner Volunteer Leadership Awards for service to the business school. Those awards were presented by Dean Garth Saloner on Oct. 21 to Lili Pratt King, AB '71/MBA '76; Joel Friedman and Terry Duryea, both MBA '71; Chris Smith, MBA '66; and Bob Gee, MBA '61.

Smith, a class secretary, student mentor, ACT volunteer, and reunion chair, says his best volunteer assignment for the Stanford Business School Alumni Association has been representing his class at the annual Arbuckle Award dinner, where he and his wife, Sandra, get to enjoy dinner conversation with the student recipients of the MBA Class of 1966 Fellowships. The students have "incredible backgrounds and engaging personalities"; and he often follows up with more lunch or dinner meetings with them.

Besides his Gardner award, Gee wins this magazine's award for detective work. As a volunteer for his 45th reunion in 2006, he called every classmate, even reaching one in Iraq, another in a Brazilian rainforest, and Yi Yi Myint in Myanmar who promised to reimburse a $25 gift made on her behalf — she could not send one directly by check or credit card, because Myanmar's dictatorship does not permit them. A week later, Gee said, "I received an envelope with a donation from a stranger in Los Angeles to reimburse me the $25." Then the other envelope dropped: an AT&T bill for $150 for two calls to Myanmar.

"It was worth every penny to be in touch with Yi Yi again," he said. According to Dean Saloner, Gee set the school's all-time participation record by getting 98% of his classmates to contribute.