David Packard arrived at Stanford in 1930 as the Great Depression hit. He was also, coincidentally, the Stanford dream incarnate. When he wasn’t busy majoring in electrical engineering, he was playing football, basketball, or track for Stanford. David had considered a career in basketball before deciding upon more academic pursuits. In fact, David Packard and Bill Hewlett met because they both tried out for football during the fall of their freshman year!
I think you learn a lot of things in athletics and they’re very important in your later career…. You understand the importance of competition and fair play and you develop a sense of the importance of teamwork.” – David Packard
To help pay for his education during tough times, “Dave” worked as a hasher and dishwasher in the Delta Gamma sorority. He was washing dishes in the kitchen during a sorority party one night in the fall of 1933 when he was introduced to the vivacious young Lucile Salter, a sophomore in the sorority. The two were married in 1938, the same year Hewlett-Packard was founded. Lucile’s former chapter of Delta Gamma holds a number of co-sponsored philanthropic events with the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital to this day.
Lucile was crucial to the growth of Hewlett-Packard. She was the sole breadwinner in 1938-1939, and her paycheck allowed Dave and Bill to focus on bringing new products to market. According to the Hewlett-Packard history archives, she served as “laundress, housekeeper, bread winner, secretary, bookkeeper, company hostess, and steadfast supporter.” She even baked metal panels for early HP prototypes in her kitchen oven (source). What a woman!