A lifelong scholar, Henry Segerstrom had a curious mind that earned him academic distinction at an early age. His academic career would ultimately lead him to earn his MBA in 1948 from Stanford University’s prestigious Graduate School of Business. In 2008, Stanford would honor Henry with their distinguished Ernest C. Arbuckle Award for excellence in the field of management leadership.

Growing up during the Depression in the then rural farming communities of Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, California, Henry possessed a keen capacity for critical thought which allowed him to excel through primary school. Henry attended Washington Elementary School and Willard Middle School, both in Santa Ana, where he often was remembered by friends and fellow pupils as an exceptional student and innate leader. While attending Santa Ana High School in the late 1930’s, Henry presided as President of The Honor Society as well as President of his senior class.

Although Henry came from a farming upbringing, his boundless ambition and focus eventually earned him admittance to Stanford University in the fall of 1941. It was

during his tenure at Stanford that Henry’s love for the arts began to flourish. During term time he often would travel to San Francisco to attend musicals, plays and art exhibitions. While back at home in Orange County on breaks, he would travel north to Los Angeles to take in performances and shows as there was no large stage, symphony orchestra or opera in Santa Ana or Costa Mesa. Later, Henry would reflect that Orange County’s population in the 1940’s was simply too small to support such artistic institutions and ambitions. Building upon the creative passions of his youth, Henry would eventually transform the Orange County community into an international arts destination.

As an undergraduate at Stanford, Henry earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1946 despite the prodigious interruption of the Second World War. It was in his sophomore year, at the young age of 18, that Henry’s studies would be put on hold to join the war effort overseas. In 1945, after his right arm was severely injured in combat, Henry was discharged from active service and returned home to a hospital in Menlo Park, California. Henry’s goals still were impervious to such a setback; he finished his undergraduate degree on independent study at Stanford in the Food Research Department while concurrently undergoing intensive rehabilitation and recovery. Further undeterred, Henry then applied and was accepted to Stanford’s competitive and renowned Graduate School of Business where he received his MBA in 1948. In the eight years between undergraduate admission and his graduate degree, he also had completed four and a half years of active military service, rising from the rank of Private to Captain. With a graduate degree in hand, Henry returned home to Orange County to rejoin the family business begun by his grandfather in 1898 and eventually to transform the civic, commercial and cultural landscape of Southern California.

As a Stanford alumnus, Henry’s unique business model and commercial acumen would eventually lead him to play a vital role in the university’s future advancement. In the late 1990’s, Henry was a key player in establishing the Center for Social Innovation (CSI) within the university’s Graduate School of Business. Building upon the university’s assets, CSI works to expand and expose the college’s resources to a larger audience of executives around the world through research, education, and experiential learning.

It was Henry who helped the Center strive to define the term ‘social innovation’ in the 21st century. This campaign would lead to the launch of multiple academic centers for social innovation around the world and even the creation of the White House Office for Social Innovation. The Center continues to act as a hub for fostering new initiatives bringing effective, efficient and sustainable solutions to businesses all over the globe.

In February of 2008, Henry was the honored recipient of Stanford’s prestigious Ernest C. Arbuckle Award. Sponsored annually by the Alumni Association of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Arbuckle Award recognizes excellence in the field of management leadership. Recipients are to have demonstrated a lifelong dedication to responding to the changing needs of society through business management—all traits exemplary of Henry Segerstrom’s contributions to commerce and culture in Southern California.

Additionally, in 2016, Henry was inducted into the Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame by SPIRE, Stanford Professionals in Real Estate.

In support of his alma mater, Henry gave Stanford University more than 1 million dollars of support in his lifetime, convinced that the education he received there sculpted and shaped the trajectory of his professional life.