My path to Stanford University was paved in large part by Mrs. Sara St. John, my high school extended learning teacher and one of my most pivotal legacy leaders. I attended a public school in rural Iowa, and Mrs. St. John actively worked to make sure that my locality did not affect my academic opportunities.
This phenomenon of good intentions that don’t result in the intended impact is pervasive. It extends far beyond environmental issues, from the effects of fair-trade goods to those of charity donations. Ultimately, there are so many individuals in the world with good intentions and a huge amount of opportunity to create change.
In 1955, a young man with an irrepressible will and a voracious appetite for learning embarked on a degree at Stanford University. One of five children born and raised in Inglewood, California, he’s now among Silicon Valley’s most active real estate developers and one of America’s most generous philanthropists. His latest act of generosity, announced last week, is the remarkable gift of $151 million to Stanford University, its largest ever from a living donor.