Couple Honored for Extraordinary Volunteerism

MBA Class of 1982 members Julie Kaufman and her husband, Walter J. Niemasik Jr. received the Stanford Associates Award of Merit last spring, given by the Stanford Alumni Association.

April 15, 2010

Among the members of the MBA Class of 1982, one Bay Area couple stands out for volunteer service across an impressive array of activities. Julie Kaufman, the class secretary, sits on the board of Stanford GSB Alumni Association, participates in the Women’s Initiative Network, and conducts market research studies for Stanford GSB alumni relations office. She also served as a co-chair for their 25th reunion planning committee. Her husband, Walter J. Niemasik Jr., gives his time as an alumni mentor, sharing insights from his experience as chairman and CEO of Snyder Capital Management in San Francisco, and also served as a class agent and as a co-chair for their 25th reunion fundraising campaign. Both have volunteered as admissions interviewers for Stanford GSB and as Leading Matters steering committee members for the university.

Walter Niemasik and Julie Kaufman

Walter Niemasik and Julie Kaufman, MBA ’82, were honored for their many volunteer roles at the GSB.

For their resounding success in leading their 25th reunion, Niemasik and Kaufman, along with reunion committee co-chairs Julie Evrard Silcock, Victoria Chang, and Lynn O’Leary Pieron, received the Stanford Associates Award of Merit last spring. Given by the Stanford Alumni Association, the honor crowns the couple’s long history of service to Stanford GSB.

With the unspoken mantra “keep it fun,” the MBA Class of 1982 put on a 25th reunion that set a record for fundraising participation at 79% and another record for attendance with 141 attendees. They also raised $12.3 million in gifts for the school. “The tremendous outcome showed the breadth of support for Stanford GSB among our classmates,” said Niemasik.

He and his co-chairs assembled an unusually large fundraising committee of 55 people. Each member was assigned to make only five or so outreach calls, allowing for a more personalized approach. When reunion weekend rolled round, the planning committee orchestrated a wonderful program of events at the Schwab Center. An unexpected windfall occurred at a Saturday night gathering when one classmate began playing his guitar and singing. After some time, and some wine, he “passed the hat,” saying he would keep playing if his classmates contributed to the ’82 fund. “Some classmates who had seldom or never given made donations,” Niemasik noted.

Reunion giving makes up a large percentage of the unrestricted funds raised each year for Stanford GSB. These funds help drive curricular innovations such as small-group seminars, new electives, in-depth international study trips, media-rich instructional tools, and co-curricular student club activities.

Together and separately, Niemasik and Kaufman say they support the vision of Stanford GSB, with the conviction that their impact extends well beyond the school by contributing to the education of future leaders. “We enable organizations to solve some of the most vexing problems we face as a world community,” said Niemasik in explaining why the pair gives so generously of their time, expertise, and support.

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