2000 - Elizabeth
Elizabeth Hiyama was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, she came
to work while receiving chemotherapy treatments.
"I think what has
kept me here are my colleagues," she says.
Hiyama, an associate
director of Residential Education, was on medical leave for 11 months.
Her illness is in remission, but it took more than medical know-how
to get her on the recovery track. She credits the presence of her co-workers
for their contribution to her healing. "I absolutely believe they helped
me get well," she says.
And many of these
colleagues say Hiyama's influence has made them better workers, better
"Elizabeth is about
people and people development," says Ann Porteus, associate director
of Residential Education. "She continually seeks ways to provide professional
development for her staff, empowering them to move on to other positions
when they are ready to do so."
Others, such as
Lowell Price, secretary of the Board of Trustees, laud Hiyama for her
clarity of purpose: "She moves people and processes along to achieve
the outcomes that are needed."
A native of Sacramento
and 1974 Stanford graduate who has a bachelor's degree in English, Hiyama
comes from a family of Berkeley alumni. She began her Stanford career
in 1976 as a temporary office assistant in the central office of Residential
Education. During the summer, she worked in the conference office of
Housing and Dining Services. In 1979, Hiyama became director of administration
for Residential Education, a position that evolved into her present
Hiyama's job is
to ensure residence operations run smoothly in her areas of responsibility,
which include financial management and human resources management. Her
office also has responsibility for the residential computer clusters.
In the early days
at her current job, Hiyama's office was "involved with everything,"
which included an art poster Residential Education had created in the
1970s on sexually transmitted diseases -- a task that now would be handled
by health promotions support staff. Hiyama is praised for her efficient
manner and for her "aloha" spirit. The latter, a Hawaiian term that
signifies love and welcome, is a quality she readily embraces as a way
of life. "I believe in aloha -- I try to have that aloha spirit when
I'm here." Hawaii and Japan are favorite places to visit, locales where
it moves her to see so many people of Asian descent, like herself.
During the administration
of President Donald Kennedy, she was a member of the University Committee
on Minority Issues, which was established in the fall of 1987 and disbanded
after issuing its March 1989 report.
"I would hope the
university re-reads the UCMI report and implements it, especially the
part on staff," Hiyama says.
She views her work
as affecting change beyond Stanford. For example, she talks of experiencing
"a residential moment" when reading Stanford magazine and exclaiming
"Wow!" when learning of the post-Farm achievements of students -- those
who perhaps learned to speak up while here.
"Each of us makes
a difference, no matter what your job. You make a difference to the
school, to the students -- and I believe the students will make a difference
in the world."