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Stanford Associates' Awards &
Past Recipients

The Stanford Associates present awards to recognize excellence in volunteer service to the University. Individuals who have demonstrated excellence in volunteer service are nominated by Stanford staff members in the fall of each year. The Stanford Associates' Board of Governors reviews the nominations and selects award winners. The following awards are given:

Degree of Uncommon Man & Uncommon Woman

In 1953 Stanford Associates introduced the Degree of Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman to honor those who rendered unique and outstanding service to the University. The award was inspired by Herbert Hoover's remark, "We believe in equal opportunity for all but we know that this includes the opportunity to rise to leadership—in other words, to be uncommon." The degree is not given annually, nor at regularly prescribed intervals, but only when it is truly appropriate to honor someone for rare and extraordinary service to the University. Candidates are recommended by the President of the University and reviewed and confirmed by the Board of Governors of Stanford Associates.

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  • Gold Spike Award

    The original gold spike was driven into the ground by Senator Leland Stanford at Promontory, Utah, in May 1869. The final link in the nation's first transcontinental railroad, the spike symbolized foresight, perseverance, and accomplishment. A century later, in 1969, the Stanford Cabinet authorized the Gold Spike Award as the Office of Development's highest honor for volunteer service. In 1979, Stanford Associates assumed responsibility for the award. Today, the Gold Spike is awarded annually to two individuals for distinguished volunteer leadership service for Stanford. Each recipient receives a brass replica of the original spike. The Gold Spikes are presented by the President of the University at a celebratory dinner on campus each spring.

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  • The Stanford Medal

    Introduced for the first time in the spring of 2006, the spirit and the purpose of the Stanford Medal is to honor volunteer leaders who have given decades of distinguished and significant volunteer service to Stanford. Three alumni leaders are recognized with the Stanford Medal each year. The medal itself depicts one of the sandstone columns from the Quad's arcade—a symbol of the strength of the University's foundation. Stanford Medals are presented to honorees at the Stanford Associates Award Ceremony held on campus each spring.

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