Stanford Parents’ Club celebrates centennial at Family Weekend

Feb. 22, 2024, 10:20 p.m.

The Stanford Parents’ Club (SPC) will commemorate its 100th anniversary during Family Weekend from Feb. 23 – 25. The organization, a global network of parents and families of Stanford students, has been run by Stanford alumni and family since January 1924.

The SPC will offer a Parents’ Club Social Hub at McCaw Auditorium from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 and  9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Feb. 24 for attendees to socialize and meet other Stanford family members.  A celebration for registered Parents’ Club members will be held from 5-6 p.m. at Burnham Pavillion on Feb. 23.

“It’s just truly a pleasure and an honor to be part of this community,” said Susan MacKay ’85, an executive board member and president of SPC. For MacKay, the milestone represents the cumulative work of “intelligent minds and kind spirits” throughout the history of the University. 

The SPC has served as a source of community and support for parents and students over the course of the past century, providing scholarships and resources to help students adjust to life at Stanford. According to MacKay, the group today consists of 10,000 members from over 50 countries across the globe, but it originally began as a gathering of local Palo Alto area parents.

Originally dubbed the Stanford Mothers’ Club until 1997, SPC offered resources including health services for sick students where parents would cook meals and care for students until they became healthy and could return to their dorms. 

“Often the food and care was so great that when the students were healthy and ready to go back to their dorms, many of them didn’t want to,” MacKay said. 

The organization also invited speakers on campus and hosted a clothing program for students to borrow and take in new clothes as needed as the years went on. The clothing program has since evolved into the SPC’s Career Closet, a drive that provides lightly-used professional clothes for students in need of items to wear to job interviews, presentations and special events. 

“One of the best things about our club is that we evolve with the times and we look to the fresh ideas of incoming parents,” MacKay said. 

As part of the centennial celebration, the SPC researched its archives to uncover the stories and historical timelines of its 100-year life. Former SPC president Nancy Franich served as a director of this committee, leading efforts to explore scrapbooks, old photos and letters that documented the history of the organization. 

“I’m looking forward to celebrating 100 years, with a lot of past presidents coming back for a toast at campus,” Franich said. Most elected SPC presidents preside over the organization for two-year terms. 

One of the most notable aspects about the club is its dedication to supporting students’ and families’ well-being throughout changes in time and technology, Franich said. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the club transitioned its meetings to Zoom to maintain the close community between parents. Franich said that she deeply appreciates the group’s commitment to providing student scholarships and supporting the distribution of academic resources at Stanford. 

According to University spokesperson Luisa Rapport, Stanford considers the Parents’ Club as “invaluable partners.” Rapport pointed to the club’s continued efforts in establishing communication networks with families, creating virtual and in-person speaker events, and helping support the Stanford financial aid program through member contributions.

Stanford president Richard Saller provided a look into upcoming Family Weekend events and alluded to the club’s centennial anniversary in his welcome statement. 

“The weekend will provide an opportunity for you to attend specially-scheduled faculty lectures, visit open houses at our community centers and other campus organizations, learn more about university resources, and toast the Stanford Parents Club, which turns 100 this year,” Saller wrote in his statement on the Family Weekend website. 

Even after serving as president, Franich said she still looks forward to volunteering at Family Weekend each year. Welcoming new families arriving on campus and sharing her son’s Stanford experience while at Stanford brings her joy – and motivates her to continue helping out. 

For MacKay, the Stanford Parents’ Club captures what makes Stanford unique, celebrating students’ accomplishments and displaying an “incredible” showcase of kindness and curiosity. 

“I think one of my great hopes for the future is that, just like it has over the last 100 years, we continue to have a thriving group of parents who want to get involved and bring their creative ideas to keep the club an interesting, relevant, warm, inclusive community for parents in the future,” MacKay said.

This article was updated to reflect the location change of the Parents’ Club Friday celebration. Susan MacKay ’85 is the current president, not former. The Daily regrets these errors.

Jack Quach ’27 is a beat reporter, covering research and awards, and staff writer for News. He is from San Francisco, CA, and in his free time loves cheering for his hometown sports teams, exploring the outdoors, learning new recipes and being the official™ S.F. expert/tour guide for his friends.Tom Quach '24 serves as the Academics Desk Editor for Vol. 261 and previously a startups beat reporter for The Daily's SciTech section. Tom also serves as Account Manager for The Daily's Business Team. He's from San Francisco, CA, and enjoys biking, building LEGOs and playing Mario Kart with friends on his spare time. Contact him at tquach 'at'

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