Alumna Spotlight: Gretchen Hartnack Milligan '69
The Stanford Associates, an honorary organization of over 2,200 Stanford alumni, presents awards annually to recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence in volunteer service to the University. The Stanford Associates' Board of Governors reviews the nominations and selects award winners, including a winner of the Gold Spike Award given "for exceptional volunteer leadership service." This year's winner of the Gold Spike Award is Gretchen Hartnack Milligan, Marlborough Class of 1969, Stanford '73, MBA '75.
Recognized for her "enthusiasm, clarity of purpose, and strategy to the myriad of projects she spearheads," Stanford also called Milligan "a treasured volunteer leader for over 30 years" and cited the enormous impact that her involvement and dedication has made at the University.
Milligan is a committed community leader who has also dedicated significant time to supporting Marlborough in her roles as alumna and Trustee. In addition, she chairs the board of Cottage Health System in Santa Barbara and sits on the boards of the Santa Barbara Foundation and College Access Foundation of California. She is a past board member and board chair of Crane Country Day School in Santa Barbara and a regular presenter at the annual California Association of Independent Schools Trustee/School Head Conference.
Milligan also received the Stanford Associates Award in 1987 and 2003, and was an inaugural recipient of The Stanford Medal, awarded by the Stanford Alumni Association to honor exceptional volunteer leaders with at least 20 years’ service to the university.
About the Gold Spike Award
The gold spike was the final link in the forming of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. It was tapped into a prepared hole by Leland Stanford on May 10, 1869, at a ceremony joining the Central Pacific and Union Pacific rails. Governor Stanford drove the gold spike into a polished California laurel tie before an audience of some 3,000 government and railroad officials and track workers in the desert at Promontory, Utah.
The spike, on display at the Cantor Arts Center, was the inspiration of David Hewes, prominent building contractor and financier of the San Francisco and the brother-in-law of Mrs. Stanford. Immediately after the ceremony, the spike and laurel tie were withdrawn and an iron spike and regular tie substituted in their place. Mr.Stanford presented the gold spike to Mr. Hewes, who in turn presented it to the Stanford Museum in 1892.