In celebrating Lindi Press today [at her memorial], I have been thinking about how rich a life she lived, and the way each of us who knew her, encountered her in one or more of her guises, but would then catch surprised glimpses of others. We would realize there was so much more than the Lindi we caught as we intersected with her across the campus and off.
I first met Lindi when she was working on her thesis with Marsh McCall in the Master of Liberal Arts Program, which you have just heard about from Linda Paulson. I have tried to remember how I came to read her thesis—she was not my advisee or in my classes—but for some reason I did have the chance to read it, and I remember reading it with delight. It was also in that guise that she advised me about things Jane Austen as I was about to head off for a year in England in the late '90s. Lindi's love of learning and her interest in England remained highlights of her life as she contemplated going to study at York after her retirement.
Then there was the Lindi who lived and breathed theater. This was a Lindi I only got fleeting glimpses of, joining her for a night out together when she had an extra ticket and getting the benefit of her perspective on the play we saw. In fact, I last saw her in October, at a Lyric Theater presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan, where I ran into her by pleasant surprise. She was very much enjoying the performance, and as was so typical of her, finding pleasure in the experience—always ready to see what was good.
Most of my relationship with Lindi had to do with her work, supporting and staffing the big Faculty Senate committees and sub-committees. She was the indispensable right hand as I attended and chaired a number of them: Committee—Undergraduate Standards and Policy, Sub-committee—General Education Requirements, Sub-Committee—Exceptions to Academic Policy, Sub-Committee—ROTC. And I know she played the same role for other committees, like Committee—Graduate Studies, Committee—Review of Undergraduate Majors, [and Sub-committee—Academic Honors]. Or in the typical Stanford alphabet soup: C-USP, S-GERS, S-EAP, S-ROTC, C-GS, and C-RUM. She took over staffing these committees during a time of major transition. The learning curve was steep for us all. And Lindi ultimately became the voice of continuity, of historical memory, so important for supporting the various shifting committee chairs and membership.
From that vantage, I also got glimpses of Lindi's work in the Registrar's office, her relations with her co-workers. She was my SECRET go-to-person whenever I had questions about requirements, student advising, and the like. This was particularly important before the Advising Center took over handling the academic exceptions and petitions processing. She and I would consult about OUR students.
Personally, Lindi was always a treat to see. Even when she was dealing with some difficult health issues that made it hard for her to get around, she was not one to complain or be negative. In fact, I don't think I ever heard her say a negative thing. She was a cheerful voice, a helpful voice, a glad-to-see-you person.
Finally there was her courage and her sense of adventure. She took things on and wanted to embrace the more of life. Her devotion to her family, her concern for her father, love and pride for her daughters, her capacity for friendship—all of these were pieces glimpsed in passing in the course of our ordinary working days.
The retirement party brought many of these pieces together [as we have just heard from Linda Paulson]. We were lucky to be able to say thank you to her then, and now, all-too-soon, return to celebrate what she gave us in memory.
Professor Hester Gelber