Sally T. Mahoney discusses her family, attending parochial schools in San Francisco, and her undergraduate education at the San Francisco College for Women. She briefly describes her graduate education in the Stanford English Department and her experience in the Stanford Secondary Education Program. Mahoney discusses her work assignments in student housing at Stanford, including a recollection of the time when Stanford students participated in Mississippi Summer during the Civil Rights Movement. Mahoney recalls an initiative for teaching freshman writing she pioneered as part of the Voice Project in collaboration with Albert Guerard and personnel changes in the Dean of Students office.
Mahoney discusses the impact of the Study of Education at Stanford (SES) and her work on the related Committee on University Residences and Campus Life. She addresses how residential education was put into practice at Stanford beginning with Grove House and other project houses and the impact of overseas studies programs on residential education. She discusses the transition to coeducational student housing at Stanford and her role as an advisor to Princeton University when it was preparing to become a coeducational institution. She provides an account of Stanford’s policy changes regarding the issuance of prescriptions for contraceptives at Cowell Student Health Service and the circumstances leading to the closure of the Counseling and Testing Center.
Mahoney recalls her move to the Provost’s office and her role in directing the university’s summer sessions. She addresses the climate of the university during the Vietnam War-era, including student sit-ins, controversy over classified research, and the resignation of university president, Kenneth Pitzer. She discusses the reorganization of the women’s physical education department and the elimination of tenure-track faculty as a result and her interactions with department chair Pamela Strathairn. She discusses the hiring of Andy Geiger as athletic director, his philosophy of athletics, and his familiarity with sports media and financing. She discusses the Committee on the Professoriate and female researchers’ demands to be allowed to be principal investigators and challenges to nepotism rules that disadvantage women.
Mahoney relates the story of how she ended up as University Registrar. She explains the computerization of the records in the Registrar’s Office and the impact of newly available enrollment data on decision-making. She details her experience as the university’s Title IX officer, including dealing with the problems caused by separate facilities for men and women. In her position as vice president of student resources, she worked on the budget, the recovery of indirect costs for admission and financial aid, and the merger of admissions and financial aid.
Mahoney also talks about her experience and contributions in various positions outside of Stanford, including the interim president of Agnes Scott College in Georgia, the interim president of Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the president of Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.
In conclusion, she reflects on what it was like to be one of the senior women in the university’s administration and shares her thoughts on the increasing preeminence of the university and its changing student body.
Sally T. Mahoney, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, pioneering women, women in administration, and women's athletics
January 28, 2014 - March 26, 2014
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012