Amy Blue’s Life and Legacy

AMY BLUE was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 26, 1943. She died of brain cancer in Palo Alto, California, on May 15, 1988. Amy was married to James Smith and had two children, Jason and Lindsay.

Amy was Associate Vice President for Administrative Services and Facilities at Stanford University from 1987 to 1988. From 1985 to 1987 she was Director of Facilities and Services and from 1982 to 1985 Director of Facilities Project Management. Before joining the Business and Finance organization, she was Assistant Provost (1973 to 1978).

Amy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1965, and her Master of Arts degree from Ohio State University in 1967. Prior to settling in California, Amy was Assistant to the Dean for Student Affairs (1968 to 1970) and Assistant to the Vice President for Research (1970 to 1973) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also returned to her native state of Ohio from 1978 to 1981, where she served as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Ohio State University.

She was all these things…

“Astonishing,” “vibrant,” “outrageous,” “full of that old-fashioned word, verve,” “dynamic,” “inspiring,” “gifted,” “ambitious for others as well as herself,” “courageous,” “her own person.”

Amy Blue was all of these things and more; a whirlwind of a woman who propelled excitement, intensity, and novelty into every undertaking. Amy Blue was an extraordinary leader, a woman of incisive intelligence, abundant energy, and unrelenting honesty. She was a person of spectacular achievement and outstanding leadership in the life of Stanford University.

To these professional achievements, Amy added a deep commitment to the needs of her family. She was creative and resourceful in teaching her young children, Jason and Lindsay, to feel confidence in themselves, joy in life, and love for others. Toward her husband, Jim Smith, she showed deep faith, passion, and delight.

In all aspects of her life, with friends, family, colleagues, and staff, Amy was disarmingly open and direct. All who came into contact with her were touched and affected by her. When her life was threatened by cancer, she approached the situation with her typical grace and courage. She faced her illness with realism and with humor, and maintained her commitment to both professional and personal goals. Yet she did still more: Unafraid to speak about what she was confronting, she helped others speak to her; unable to think only of herself, she thought first of her children and husband and others in need of her strength; unwilling to withdraw from the world, she demonstrated that life is to be lived, even if its tenure is uncertain.

A small group of women who knew and loved Amy Blue established an endowment fund at Stanford University, with additional contributions from Amy’s friends, family, and colleagues both inside and outside the University. The income from the endowment is used to honor Amy’s life and her work by granting the Amy J. Blue Award to deserving Stanford staff members each year. The award recognizes special qualities and contributions to Stanford and reminds us of Amy Blue’s spirit.