Claudia J. Maingueneau Greathead is a befittingly grand name for the woman who possessed it. She was born in San Jose on September 20, 1930, into a French and Cherokee Indian bloodline. For more than 40 years, she built a life with her husband, Carroll Greathead, growing apricots and plums on a ranch in Hollister. And for more than 40 years, she worked at FMC Corporation, applying her San Jose State degree in business administration (1952) to rise through the ranks. Still, Greathead found time to devote to her community, volunteering to support women, children and animals. She was involved in everything from business associations to the Farm Bureau. Is that all, you ask? Not quite.
Greathead nurtured a deep connection to her Cherokee roots, along with a commitment to education. She generously supported Native American education in the Midwest and higher education here at San Jose State where, upon her passing at age 77, a portion of her bequest was realized for The Claudia Greathead Fund for the College of Business. Her scholarships—available in perpetuity—are used to send several students to study abroad each year. Thanks to a woman who loved travel, genealogy, bright colors and cats, students get to see the world, learn from other cultures and become global citizens.