2001 - Bettye
Work doesn't dim her high-voltage smile
Bettye Price, administrative
services manager for the Department of Biological Sciences, doesn't just make
his job as department chair easier, said Professor Craig Heller. "I don't think
I'd be able to my job without her. The whole place would fall apart."
A conversation with any
of Price's colleagues about what it's like to work with her loosens an avalanche
of superlatives like "gold standard" and "miracle worker."
"I don't have a big enough
vocabulary to express all the wonderful qualities that Bettye brings to Stanford,"
effused Assistant Registrar Susan Maher, who worked with Price for 18 months.
Price succeeds at a "virtually undoable" job that includes managing research administration
and student services in a department that has undergone an explosion in reporting
and regulatory requirements, Maher said.
With more than 400 undergraduates
and 100 graduate and postdoctoral students, "it's a big department and she sees
all the pieces. Bettye is unquestionably the most hard-working, conscientious,
fun-loving, upbeat and loyal person I have ever worked with here," Maher said.
"She's the poster child for why we celebrate Amy Blue's life."
Price's capacity for work
is legendary. She routinely puts in 12 to 14 hour workdays, arriving at 6 a.m.
and taking work home with her when she leaves at 5:30 p.m. She sometimes gets
up in the wee hours to get a little bit ahead, she admits, and co-workers tease
her about e-mail sent from her home computer, time-marked 3 a.m. Price formerly
was the department accountant, and when the finance office gets behind, she takes
work home to help them catch up. She loves doing it all, she said.
"I wouldn't be here if it
wasn't a lot of fun," Price said, flashing her high-beam smile. "Every time a
grant goes through, I get a kind of high. If I can help somebody, it makes my
Price, who said her high
energy is a family trait, takes a lunch run at the Dish three or four times a
week. "It's my sanity pill," she said. Work at home is sandwiched between time
spent with her daughter, a senior in high school, and her husband, whom she calls
a fellow workaholic.
An Alabama native, Price
came to work at Stanford soon after she arrived in the Bay Area two decades ago.
She began as an accountant assistant in the Biological Sciences Department when
records were kept in big loose-leaf binders, "like something from Dickens," Heller
said. Price worked her way up in the department as it was undergoing rapid technological
changes - and Price always stayed on top of them, he said.
Her skills have landed Price
high-profile posts, like chairing a schoolwide task force on improving research
administration and as the sole administrative member of the search committee for
the new dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Despite her workload, Price
always takes time for other employees, sitting down for one-on-one computer training
or stopping for a cup of coffee to talk through a problem, co-workers said. "No
matter who you are, she's always willing to give you her attention," said May
Chin, who works in Heller's office.
"If you think about it,
she has the most central job in the whole department," Heller said. "Chairs come
and go, but the department administrator is the person who makes it a good place
to work or a bad place to work. . . . She makes the environment in the whole department
one that's nice to deal with."