Nancy Stock Tivol (IH 1966-67) knows quite a bit about her family history through International House. From her son Steve Tivol (IH 1991-93) to her parents and also her in-laws from her husband’s side, the Stock and Tivol family’s presence at I-House Berkeley dates back to its inception in 1930.
“I looked it up and we started on both sides of this, Steve’s dad’s side and mine,” Nancy said. “[Steve] had an aunt who was there the year it opened in ’30-31. My father was there in ’31-32, my mother in ’33-34, another aunt-in-law in the early ‘40s, and then we go to the early 60s where I had a brother-in-law and a cousin who were there.
The positive experience from her parents recalled during their time at I-House inspired Nancy to live there when she was a student in the 60s. “They talked about the people they met, and how it really opened their eyes,” she said.
Speaking with Nancy and Steve, the generational differences from their time at I-House were apparent. Men and women’s living quarters were still separated in the mid-’60s when Nancy was a resident, but that had changed by the time Steve arrived there 24 years later. “When I was there, it was co-ed with a couple exceptions,” he said. “There was a little wing on the third floor that had a very different look to it, so it was called the ‘hospital wing.’ That was all women.”
Despite some social changes that occurred at I-House, many of its signature activities such as Sunday Supper remained the same. “I went [to] I think probably every Sunday Supper,” Nancy said adding that “there was always a very interesting speaker, but it wasn’t just limited to Sundays.” According to Steve, Sunday Suppers were less frequent during his time there, but he enjoyed the casual events such as coffee hour and movie night. “Coffee hour on a Wednesday night, usually drew a good half of the House [and] movie night . . . was always an interesting thing because we did world cinema,” he said.
Their family was able to have a mini-reunion at I-House when Nancy’s parents, Rita and Morton Stock, attended a Sunday Supper event with her and Steve in 1992, nearly six decades since the time they were residents. “Being back at I-House brought back memories for them. Things they hadn’t mentioned to me or to each other before,” Nancy later wrote when asked about her parent’s reactions upon visiting I-House again. “They also said that there were students from many more countries than in the 1930s . . . and they saw this as a big positive for everyone.”
Over the years Nancy has still managed to stay involved with I-House activities. In March, she sponsored the I-House Resident Council Match for “Big Give” which is UC Berkeley’s annual 24-hour fundraising campaign. The donations for I-House would help fund scholarships for residents and support the continued sustainability of the House. For Nancy, who was a member of the I-House Resident Council in the 60s, donating to the residence has been her way of helping students, both domestic and international, learn more about each other. “I think [I-House is] such a wonderful experience and it really is an eye-opener for Americans and for foreign students just to experience each other and to experience America [and] to learn more about other parts of the world,” she said.
Steve echoed that sentiment. “You have to be ready for people whose experience is really different from your own,” he said when talking about cross-cultural experiences at I-House. “You have to understand that you are going to be one of those people too and be open and ready for those sorts of experiences as opposed to put off by them.”
For domestic residents, he added that I-House “really is a great chance to not only represent the United States, but also to really learn how different your point of view is from other folks and that there are lots of right ways to do things.”
Learn more about the Stock/Tivol family history in the latest I-House Oral History Spotlight interview video here.