Amy J. Blue award honors three ‘exceptional’ staff members

Victor Madrigal ’94, Penelope Van Tuyl and Madika Bryant M.A. ’04 received the 2024 Amy J. Blue Award, presented by President Richard Saller at a Thursday ceremony. The award, named for long-time Stanford employee Amy J. Blue who died of brain cancer in 1988, honors the recipients for their “exceptional contributions to [Stanford], passion for their work and support for their colleagues,” according to the Stanford report announcement.

Madrigal, who currently serves as director of alumni and student class outreach, found out he won the award when he logged onto a Zoom meeting that he expected to be with just one colleague, said Laura Jones Ph.D. ’91, University Archaeologist and Director of Heritage Services.

“Lo and behold, I dial in and see about 40 people on the screen. They DID NOT look like Laura,” he wrote. “I was stunned.” 

Jones met Madrigal through their involvement in the Stanford Historical Society, when he helped organize a conference that invited local history nonprofits to campus.

She believes that his character and his passion for his work and values are why he won this award. 

“I can’t even imagine Victor ever saying “that’s not my problem,” or “I don’t care,” or even “maybe I’ll get back to you about that later.” Victor is all-in on making Stanford an even better place every single day. And he makes it fun. Trust me, fun is not dead at Stanford if you’re Victor’s friend,” Jones wrote.

In 2020, Madrigal worked as a moderator for the University’s “Brave Spaces” program, a virtual forum for staff to have conversations on race, anti-Black racism, justice, equity, bias, and discrimination after the killing of George Floyd at the hand’s of Minneapolis police officers and the following wave of protests. 

When asked what he’s particularly proud of over his 26-year career at Stanford so far, Madrigal pointed to the community he has helped cultivate. 

“I felt I was able to create space for staff to feel heard, to grieve, to express their feelings and to build community,” he wrote.

Van Tuyl, human rights lawyer and associate director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, was also called into a fake meeting by her faculty directors who broke the news. 

“They ambushed me here at our office and I was totally surprised,” she told the Stanford Report.

Van Tuyl grew up at Stanford, before attending Amherst College in Massachusetts for her undergraduate studies. She got her J.D. from UC Berkeley and returned to Stanford to kick off a now 10-year career marked by hard work and compassion, according to two anonymous nominators in the Stanford Report.

“Amy J. Blue’s friends saw and valued Amy for who she was and the passion she brought to her work for this university,” Van Tuyl told the Stanford Report. “To get that same recognition from my own friends and colleagues means more than I can say. Receiving this award makes me feel very seen and valued for the things I value most about my job.”

After graduating from Stanford with her master’s in East Asian Studies, Bryant began working with the Practice of Medicine course at Stanford’s School of Medicine, where she now serves as administrative director. According to the Stanford Report, the best part about her over two decades with the University has been the “people.”

“The passion, kindness and open-heartedness that everybody has towards this work is very inspiring,” she said. 

Courtney Smith, a medical student, praised her as the “glue that holds all of [the Pracitice of Medicine course] together” in the Stanford Report. Another student, Saachi Datta, called Bryant her “superhero.” 

Madrigal, when asked what he still hopes to accomplish here at Stanford, joked that fountain hopping was at the top of his list. 

Aside from that, he’d like to amplify the collaborative work done in alumni relations across campus and would like to continue helping the Diversity and Access Office as they develop staff training programs.

“A connected and engaged workforce is a win for Stanford,” he wrote. 

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