At our 25th undergraduate reunion in October, my classmates and I had a lot of conversations about where we thought we’d be when we graduated from Stanford and where we are now. Some people have made deliberate changes. One quit a perfectly good job as a TV news producer and moved across the country at age 42 to pursue her dream of becoming a screenwriter. (Spoiler alert: It worked.) Others have grappled with unexpected challenges: the death of a spouse, the disability of a child. Nearly everyone spoke from the heart and reveled in it. “I decided about five years ago that I’m just going to say things,” one longtime friend told me.
As the new editor of Stanford, I hope the magazine can reflect that spirit. This year, instead of just telling you how many people came to Reunion Homecoming and what they thought of it, we asked attendees a question: “How have you changed since college?” A sampling of their answers appears here.
Whether you are an alum who loves a good Homecoming football game or one whose reunion is an occasional gathering of grad students and postdocs from your lab—or neither of the above—we hope these thoughts will resonate. Stanford is the place where all 227,000 of us come together, whether we be programmers or parents, artists or academics (or both).
Speaking of artist-academics, you can read in our cover story about the rapid ascent of playwright David Henry Hwang, ’79, whose first play went from Wilbur Hall to off-Broadway in a matter of 14 months. You can also read about how his second play flopped, and how in 2015 he was stabbed by a stranger in an attack he fears may have been racially motivated.
Each of us has a story to tell about our ordinary, extraordinary lives. Mine certainly has not proceeded as anticipated. I was planning to be a lawyer and live in L.A. Actually, I was a lawyer and I did live in L.A. But neither of those felt quite right, so I ripped them off like Band-Aids. Twenty years ago, Stanford’s then-editor, Bob Cohn, ’85, took a chance on me, and he and Kevin Cool have helped me become the magazine editor I was meant to be.
Now, I want to hear about your ordinary, extraordinary lives. Write to Class Notes. Contribute an essay. Tell me what you want to read about and what you don’t. Weigh in on a story. (To start you off, accompanying a pair of articles about the NFL anthem protests, here’s a survey asking for your thoughts.)
Let’s just say things.