Stanford Alumni Association Case Study

Assignment: Text for a visual display in the Stanford Alumni Association lobby, a tribute to long-term alumni volunteers. The marketing manager wrote: “Here are some of the blurbs written about volunteers in the past. They are all a little dry and boring, examples of what we are NOT looking for. We are really looking to create a personality for the volunteer, not just listing their accomplishments.”

Sample in the old style:
FRANCE CORDOVA ’69
CHILDHOOD AMBITION: Detective, Writer, Physicist
LIFE AFTER STANFORD: France became the 7th Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, July 2002. Prior to this appointment, she served as Professor of Physics & Vice Chancellor for Research at UC Santa Barbara. Cordova was named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics”, and one of the “80 Elite Hispanic Women” by Hispanic Business Magazine.

New profile voice:
HOLLY WOOD ’68
It’s little wonder that Stanford feels like home to Holly: All seven of her children are alum, too. As a prospective student, she observed that the people she met from Stanford were “open, curious, and willing to share.” Her current involvement with Stanford confirms that impression. She sees her children being encouraged, as she was, “to look at the whole world.” One daughter has worked on the Martin Luther King Papers Project. Holly loves her work on University fundraising campaigns: She gets to talk to other alums who represent a “diversity of ethnicity and economic backgrounds” and who share her eagerness to give back to Stanford.