In front of over a hundred students gathered in Cubberley Auditorium Monday evening, Julian Castro ‘96, current mayor of San Antonio, discussed how his life at Stanford prepared him for the political world and provided advice on how to make a difference through public service.
“Getting a great education [at Stanford] prepared me to understand complex issues, and studying with a diverse student population helped prepare me for leading a diverse community,” Castro said. “From Stanford, I got a sense of what’s possible and a confidence about achieving my dreams.”
A political science and communication major, Castro and his twin brother Joaquín Castro ‘96—currently a San Antonio congressman—both ran for ASSU Senate while at Stanford. The brothers tied for first place in the election, receiving exactly 811 votes each. Julian Castro then went on to attend Harvard Law School, and later won another political election—this time as the youngest mayor of San Antonio—with his campaign focusing on education initiatives.
“I have felt very blessed to get to attend Stanford and Harvard, and a primary goal of mine is to help extend that opportunity to all young people in San Antonio,” Castro said. “And that was my motivation for focusing on improving education in our city.”
Castro went on to discuss his major accomplishments in education including his biggest capital investment: Café College, a resource center that is designed to help San Antonio students pursue higher education by offering free advice on college admission and financial aid, as well as test preparation for the SAT.
Castro’s greatest operational investment was in Pre-K 4 SA, a program that will provide pre-kindergarten services to thousands of four year-old children annually.
Though Castro does not have definitive plans for his political future yet, he intends to serve out his term in San Antonio and continue to make an impact through community-based educational programs. He is also considering running for another public office.
Castro advised students to simply follow their passions and understand that meaningful impact on society can be achieved through the private sector, such as through entrepreneurial enterprises.
When asked about what students should do prior to running for public office, Castro said “first to understand what they believe, what their fundamental principles are before they go into office and to be willing to listen to others and to learn from them.”
Contact Elizabeth Davis at eseraiah ‘at’ stanford.edu.