A story from Al Ashley
I came to SLAC as the Minority Employment and Training Representative on July 15, 1968, not long after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Over the course of sixteen years while under Pief's leadership, I had countless discussions with him regarding employment issues and community concerns. During our conversations, he was often several steps ahead of me as he seemed able to provide an answer even before I asked the question.
Pief was a brilliant individual, a leader in the scientific world and remarkably rare as a man of great compassion and understanding. Pief was a true humanitarian far ahead of his time who made impact on the world in the areas of human and civil rights. Among his extensive activity in the community, Pief served as the first co-chair of the Stanford Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition that helped launch minority-owned small businesses, and also worked on related educational, health and housing issues.
In 1984, I organized a farewell retirement reception to honor him with the Black Association of Stanford Employees and the Black Community. He touched us all and we continue to consider him a national treasure.
- A memo written on September 7, 1984
I can't tell you in words how touched I was about the party which the Black Association of Stanford Employees gave for me on the 28th. You have done a fantastic job organizing it and as I told you at the party, I was impressed by the degree of secrecy which you were able to maintain throughout the undertaking. I knew you were planning something involving the Black community, but I didn't have the remotest idea how broad a section of the community was involved until I showed up at the Faculty Club.
The reception was an overwhelming success and affected me deeply personally. I will do my best to justify in the future the faith which you and the rest of the community have shown.
With best personal regards,
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky
- Memo written on March 11, 1970
To: Al Ashley
From: W. Panofsky
Subject: Pompidou Visit
As you probably know, the Pompidou visit to SLAC was a great success and, thanks to you, was one of the most pleasant parts of the entire trip of the President of France. Not only did the arrangements work out very well but also the substantive content of the trip was very well taken care of: President Pompidou and the Foreign Minister received the information they wanted to have about the workings of a laboratory like SLAC and about the whole relationship of a laboratory of this kind to the structure of the university. Moreover, the discussions involving Pompidou, members of the French delegation, Stanford officials, Congressman McCloskey and student body representatives were very productive.
I should like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for all the help you have given us in making this visit a success.
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky