Stanford Professional Women of Los Angeles

Member Profile: Suzanne Chase ’53

By Trisha Manaka MA’10

Suzanne Chase didn’t get to walk at her Stanford graduation ceremony in 1953 with her classmates. She got married, and she had to move across the country to Ypsilanti, Michigan with her husband, who was in the Air Force and was called to duty during the Korean War.

While living in Ypsilanti, Suzanne worked as a secretary for the director of a small hospital. In her writings about her work experiences at Ypsilanti, she says, “After years of note-taking in college, the shorthand wasn’t too much of a challenge, memory and quick notes sufficed. (Fortunately, no one asked to see my notebook). God was with me for typing and a presentable product was produced.” Suzanne also reminisced about the historical development of copy technology–from making 8 carbon copies to mimeographs to ditto machines. Of course, she infused her dry sense of humor when talking about this. She knew that someone who was working in today’s workplace would not have to make carbon copies or stencils!

After her husband completed his military service, Suzanne moved back to Los Angeles and witnessed the inner workings of educational institutions while working as a secretary at a community college and while working as a teacher in different elementary schools.

At the same time, Suzanne’s family was expanding and she had transitioned to raising her two sons and daughter. Her family also enjoyed traveling, and she embraced the flexibility of working in a ski travel agency, where she got her first job in the travel industry. She was able to balance her family and work life because the ski travel agency schedules matched with the school calendars of her children. For example, she worked during the winter months and was off during the summer months. Now, her children are grown up, and she continues to work in the travel industry with Cassis Travel Service, where she has been since the past 17 years (For more information, please visit the SPWLA Business Directory).

Suzanne says that her passion lies in education. She never stopped pursuing her goal of attending Stanford and she is the first in her family to graduate college. Moreover, she has fond memories of teaching in Torrance, CA and Ypsilanti, MI. She believes in developing the future generation to lead the U.S. “Achievement is key,” she says.

In addition, she is a proponent of volunteerism. She has volunteered for the Junior League, an organization that educates and develops leadership in women so that they can effectively serve their communities. She says, “I was able to give back productively to the community.”

 In 1996, Suzanne was finally able to walk at her own Stanford graduation ceremony along with members of the Class of 1996! She led the procession of graduates to the graduation ceremony, and the Dean of Education, Richard Shavelson, celebrated her presence by addressing her special circumstances for participating in her graduation ceremony 43 years later.

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Suzanne Chase ‘53 is one of the first members of SPWLA. The photo shows Suzanne receiving her diploma from Dean Richard Shavelson on June 16, 1996.