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Stanford Oral History Collections

Freelen, Robert E.
Freelen, Robert E.
Freelen, Robert E. and Horton, Larry
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
Robert E. “Bob” Freelen was Vice President for Public Affairs at Stanford from 1983 to 1992. He has extensive experience in university fundraising, alumni relations, and public relations. In this two-part interview, Freelen reflects on his journey through Stanford University. He begins by discussing his undergraduate years at Stanford and describing the university environment at the time and his involvement with student government. He moves on to his time at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to pursue his MBA and finish his Reserve Officers’ Training Corps [ROTC] program. Freelen also recounts going into the army following graduation, where he worked in the finance corps. He then discusses his return to Stanford, working for the PACE campaign [Plan of Action for a Challenging Era] to raise funds for the university. He describes his move into working for the Stanford Alumni Association and later the issues he dealt with as Acting Dean of Students during challenging times. Freelen details his long career as the university’s Director of Government Relations, during which he fostered dialogue between Stanford, the state and federal governments, and other universities and created new policies and coalitions. He describes succeeding Robert M. “Bob” Rosenzweig as Vice President for Public Affairs and keeping up relationships with media, government, and donors. Freelen concludes the first interview session by discussing relations with the Hoover Institution under director W. Glenn Campbell and issues surrounding the proposed construction of the Reagan Library on Stanford campus. In the second interview session, Freelen discusses his work in university communications and developing a strategic plan for that department. He returns to discussing government relations, covering issues including Stanford’s land endowment, obtaining anti-trespassing legislation barring Theodore Streleski from campus, and the indirect costs controversy. Freelen ends his interview describing his retirement and offers his perspective on Stanford today.
Robert E. Freelen, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, higher education, senior administrators, university fundraising, and universities and colleges--finance
April 2, 2015 - April 15, 2015
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012