Vivian Leigh Forde ’66 B.A.E, ’68 M.A.E.

Which groups or activities were you most involved at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?

I was living at home with my folks during my undergraduate degree studies, so I didn’t participate in a lot of activities. I did go to the football games, and I had an on-campus job at the Business Office in the old Administration Building.


How did your education at ASU prepare you for your job or career?

I taught for six years after graduating in the Phoenix Union School District. After that I had a chance to move to London, and my secretarial studies minor came in handy as I was able to work for two small publishers, who were my introduction to book publishing.


When I returned to the United States in 1975, I moved to San Francisco and eventually took a temporary job in the stenography pool at Chevron Corporation Public Affairs and was hired a few months later. I worked up the ladder and used my training in English to get a Public Affairs job in publications. I retired after 34 years on Jan. 1, 2016, as Public Affairs publications advisor, having edited and produced 29 corporate annual reports and numerous other company publications.


Clearly, the English skills acquired during my undergraduate degree were useful during my career at Chevron. My education classes taught me more than how to provide instruction – I also learned about how to be part of a team. ASU provided a good foundation for me, and I am very grateful.


How did ASU help you achieve your dream?

I never expected to work for a major corporation, much less one of the world’s largest. Life has its moments, and ASU helped me learn the value afforded by taking risks – such as my moves to London and San Francisco after falling in love with it in the late 1960s.


Another way in which ASU has played a part in achieving my dream is that it has become an institution that I’m choosing to give back to as a donor. I’ve had a lifelong interest in astronomy, so I’ve set up a charitable remainder trust that will benefit ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, funding scholarships, research and public outreach for the school. I’ve also endowed a Medallion Award Scholarship (the Forde Family Scholarship) with the ASU Alumni Association. For alumni who want to give back to ASU and are financially able, these types of options are great ways to do it.


Tell us about your involvement in the 2016 Golden Reunion, which is hosted by the ASU Alumni Association.

I was recruited by Alumni Association President (and 1966 alumna) Dr. Christine K. Wilkinson – our friendship stretches back to grade school in Tempe! Our committee has been contacting class members, and it’s going to be a pretty special event. I’ve been back to campus many times, but to be able to spend this reunion with the Class of 2016 is so special. They have so much to look forward to, if they are willing to take risks and continue learning throughout their lives.


What are three “can’t-miss” ASU experiences every Sun Devil should participate in?

  1. Visit the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies - The displays are fascinating and pique the imagination about what our universe is all about!
  2. Attend the ASU-U of A game – Whether it’s at home or in Tucson, going to our rivalry game is a given!
  3. Tour Old Main – Our oldest standing building has changed so much over the years. It’s important to remember our history and how ASU began.
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