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Stanford Parents' Club History

Stanford Mothers Operated Student Rest Homes for over 30 year starting in the 1920's

Changing Times of the Club During the ​1960's, 1970's and Beyond

The Club's fundraising efforts and student support services have adapted over time to align with the needs of students and parents as well as the resources and services made available through Stanford.

For 40 years, until 1962, the Mothers' Club ran Rest Homes (infirmaries) for students. These closed when Stanford opened student health centers on campus: Alpine House, then Cowell Health Center, and now Vaden Health Center.

Even after the Rest Homes closed, the Club continued to help fund services for students recovering from illnesses and injuries, where needed.

In the 1960's and 70's the Club supported students in the health center by providing radios, TVs, magazines, and a golf cart to ferry injured students to and from classes. In 1966, the Daily reported that the TV had been stolen!

Over half a century later, we continue to support student health. We donated $500 annually to Vaden Health Center for many years; we provided $5,000 to help defray the printing costs of the Red Folder, which contains information about student health and well-being resources at Stanford; and today we invite administrators and other experts to talk with parents, on Zoom, about Stanford student health and well being.

The club's interest in student welfare has never faltered, though it took various directions. In 1989, in response to school budget cuts, the Club donated $1,200 to Women Defending Ourselves for new mats and a punch bag.

In 1990, following the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the Club sold earthquake kits for students.

In the early 1990s and for over 30 years thereafter, club volunteers delivered birthday cakes and other treats to students on campus.

By 1997, when the Mothers' Club became the Parents' Club, member volunteers actively supported families during New Student Orientation (NSO), Family Weekend, and Admit Weekend. As the club moved into the 2000s, its responsibilities on campus grew. The 'Letting Go' parent panel at NSO became very popular and was featured in the September 22, 2004 issue of the Stanford Daily.

The pandemic was an inflection point for the club. All in-person activities were cancelled for two years. What could be moved online was, like the Distinguished Speaker Series. We also started new online services, like Coffee Chats and a book club. We launched Slack and Facebook pages and staffed them with experienced parent volunteers to help answer parent questions, 24/7. Thousands of parents, worldwide, signed up.

What we initially thought might bring the end to the club, instead brought about a new beginning, serving a much larger, worldwide parent audience with more robust services than ever before. Now both in-person AND online services are offered. We can reach anybody, anytime, anywhere and have 10,000 members worldwide. We can also do more than ever.

For example, the Career Closet launched last year and provided over 2,000 articles of gently used professional attire to several hundred students, over two days.

For 100 years we have consistently risen to the challenges of the times and evolved to meet the changing needs of students, parents and the university.

This tradition will continue for the next century and beyond.

Photos courtesy of Stanford Historical Photograph Collection

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