Bio: Rebecca Quinn Morgan was born on December 4, 1938 in Hanover, New Hampshire and grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in 1960, Morgan worked as a teacher for two years before serving as a district office manager for Congressman Pete McCloskey. During her tenure working for Congressman McCloskey, Morgan also served as an elected member of the Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education from 1973 to 1978 while simultaneously earning her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1978.

In 1980, Morgan was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, joining Zoe Lofgren and Susanne Wilson and creating the first female majority, but she served only one term before being elected to the California State Senate in 1984 to represent the 11th Senate District. During her tenure, she was Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Child Care and Development and Vice Chair of several other committees. She was also a member of the Education, Budget and Fiscal Review, Transportation, Energy and Public Utilities, and Revenue and Taxation Committees while serving in the Senate. Morgan also became the first woman to wear pants in the Senate – not out of protest, but simply out of necessity due to the cold. In 1986, Southern Pacific Railroad sought to withdraw from managing the Caltrain commuter rail system and consequently shut the system down. Morgan wrote the legislation that created the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board to save the Caltrain by enabling the new board to run the system. She was reelected to her State Senate seat in 1988 and 1992.

Effective August 17, 1993, Morgan resigned from her Senate seat to become President and CEO of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a nonprofit organization composed of business, government, and education groups seeking to improve the Silicon Valley region’s economic growth and quality of life following the recession in the early 90s. Later that year, she co-founded the Morgan Family Foundation, which focuses its giving on youth, education, environment, and programs that strengthen community through collaboration and/or development of nonprofit leadership. The grants the foundation awards are designed to empower organizations to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient. She served as President of the Foundation until 2020.

Morgan was also elected to a five-year term on the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and in 1998 was elected to the Cornell University Board of Trustees. Morgan was reelected in 2002. From 2008 to 2009, Morgan served on the State of California’s Commission on the 21st Century Economy. In 2011, Morgan and her husband James donated a $10 million gift to support top priorities of Cornell University, where the couple first met. Morgan resides in Los Altos Hills with her husband. They have two adult children, Jeff and Mary, and three grandchildren. In her free time, Morgan enjoys skiing and working in her rose garden.


State Budget 1987
SCR 65 (1988)

  • Requires the state to preserve and rehabilitate “the Stanford House” as a place of historic
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  • Morgan has received the following honors and awards:
  • Santa Clara County Woman of Achievement
  • The Juliette Gordon Low Award from the Girl Scouts
  • Senator of the Year Award from the California School Boards Association
  • Senator of the Year Award from the California State University Students Association
  • Dean’s Award for Public Service from Cornell University
  • 1994 Woman of the Vision Honor from the Career Action Center
  • 1994 Presidential Award of Distinction from De Anza College
  • 1995 Community Service Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews
  • Honorary Law Degree from Peninsula Law College (1991) Honorary Law Degree from Golden Gate University (1992)
  • Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Santa Clara University (1996)

Morgan Bio authored by Sydney Lewis

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