For those of you I haven’t met, I’m Jim Montoya, a friend of Rolf’s, and Linda’s, and it’s an honor for me to be here today as we celebrate Rolf’s fifty-nine and one-half years on this wonderful Earth, and more importantly, reflect on the many gifts that he shared with us.
As I was mentioning to some of you earlier, I remember Rolf most as an artist. As an artist and designer who brought important ways of thinking to our Stanford community. As an artist and an intellect who helped us understand that creativity is not an aptitude, but an attitude towards living, and how powerful creativity is when it is coupled with a deep sense of purpose and a sustained commitment to the ideal. As an artist and teacher who helped us appreciate the connection between inspired space and inspired thinking. And as an artist and colleague who inspired me in my former role as Vice Provost to think broadly and boldly, to listen to others with an open mind, to be soulful, yet playful, and most important, to be respectful. I will always be grateful to Rolf and Linda for their willingness to explore and embrace new directions for student life, especially here in Toyon.
Rolf loved Toyon, and that was especially clear during the renovation of this living and learning space. The beauty, the integrity, and functionality of this space make it an ideal place for us to celebrate Rolf’s life. The architectural detail—the flow of human interaction this space encourages, and its connection to our collective history—reflect Rolf’s spirit. Yes, this is an ideal place, and perhaps even the perfect place, to bring together Rolf’s family, friends, students, and colleagues. Those he loved, those for whom he lived, and those he so deeply impressed and inspired.
Before Talisman celebrates Rolf’s life through song, and you have a chance to hear from seven speakers, and then of course we will move to an open mic following some addition music, let me share some words that I’ve been thinking a lot about, contemplating, since I heard of the death of my friend Rolf. They are the words of Maria Callas, but capture Rolf’s spirit, as an artist, as a designer, and as a friend.
“I have tried to reach you to communicate what we do as artists and as human beings. The world will go on without us, but I have to think that we have made it a better place, that we have made it richer, wiser, than had we not chosen the way of art...”
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