A Haas Center Fixture Retires

Linda A. Cicero

Jeanne Wahl Halleck’s office at the Haas Center for Public Service was filled with stacked boxes, rolled-up posters and an ancient green typewriter as she prepared to retire after 23 years on the job. There was even a 49ers football stranded on one shelf. “Jerry Rice and I are leaving together,” she quipped. (The star receiver’s number was retired November 19.)

As program coordinator of Stanford in Washington, administrator of the John Gardner Fellowship Program and adviser to the student-led Stanford in Government, Halleck helped hundreds of undergraduates and graduate students find placements in government and nongovernmental agencies. She worked with Gardner, ’33, MA ’36, on the concept for and 1985 launch of the fellowship program, and she remembers him as “such a wise man.”

The secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the Johnson administration, Gardner was largely responsible for LBJ’s “Great Society” program. He played major roles in civil rights enforcement, education reform and campaign finance reform, and founded Common Cause.

Six Gardner fellowships, with a $27,500, 10-month stipend, are awarded to graduating seniors each year—three from Stanford, and three from UC-Berkeley. Over the years, Halleck helped with applications and interviews, and accompanied all the fellows on their initial visits to their chosen mentors.

“Her contacts in Washington, D.C., allow fellows to fully experience the public service environment,” says Sean Fox, ’91, who was a Gardner fellow at the World Resources Institute in 1991-92. “Jeanne is the heart and soul of the fellowships, and she has pushed forward the ideals Gardner believed in.”