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Stanford University

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Title: Stanford University  
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Subject: List of members of the National Academy of Engineering (Electronics), List of members of the National Academy of Engineering (Computer science), 2000 WNBA draft, Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame
Collection: 1891 Establishments in California, Association of American Universities, Educational Institutions Established in 1891, Pacific-12 Conference Schools, Private Universities and Colleges in California, Romanesque Revival Architecture in California, Schools Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Stanford University, Universities and Colleges in Santa Clara County, California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Stanford University

Stanford University
Leland Stanford Junior University
Seal of Stanford University
Motto Die Luft der Freiheit weht
Motto in English The wind of freedom blows[1]
Established 1891[2][3]
Type Private
Endowment $21.4 billion (2014)[4]
President John L. Hennessy
Provost John Etchemendy
Academic staff 2,043[5]
Admin. staff 11,128[6] excluding SHC
Students 15,877
Undergraduates 6,980[7]
Postgraduates 8,897[7]
Location Stanford, California, U.S.
Campus Suburban, 8,180 acres (3,310 ha)[note 1][7]
Newspaper The Stanford Daily
  cardinal & white
Athletics NCAA Division I (FBS) Pac-12
Nickname Cardinal
Mascot Stanford Tree (unofficial)
Website .edu.stanfordwww

Leland Stanford Junior University, or more commonly Stanford University, is a private research university in Stanford, California, and one of the world's most prestigious institutions,[10][11][12][13] with the highest undergraduate selectivity[14] and fundraising performance[15] in the United States.

Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland Stanford, former governor of and U.S. senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford was opened on October 1, 1891[2][3] as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Tuition was free until 1920.[16][17] The university struggled financially after Leland Stanford's 1893 death and after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[18] Following World War II, Provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates' entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley. By 1970, Stanford was home to a linear accelerator, and was one of the original four ARPANET nodes (precursor to the Internet).[19]

Stanford is located in northern KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM, features freeform music programming, sports commentary, and news segments; it started in 1947 as an AM radio station.[202] Literary magazines such as the Leland Quarterly[203] provide creative outlets.

Business oriented groups run from the immediately useful, an online marketplace for Stanford students and alumni, in partnership with Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) to the Stanford Pre-Business Association[204] which is the largest business-focused undergraduate organization. The latter plays an instrumental role in establishing an active link between the industry, alumni, and student communities. Stanford Finance is a pre-professional organization aimed at mentoring students who want to enter a career in finance, through mentors and internships. The StartX is a non-profilt startup accelerator for student and faculty-led startups[205] that over 12% of the study body has applied to. It is staffed primarily by students.

Other groups include (but are not limited to):

  • The Stanford Axe Committee is the official guardian of the Stanford Axe and the rest of the time assists the Stanford Band as a supplementary spirit group. The current group has existed since 1982.[206]
  • The Stanford solar car project, in which students build a solar-powered car every 2 years and race it in either the North American Solar Challenge or the World Solar Challenge.
  • The Stanford Kite Flying Society[207] (founded 2008), a group of undergraduates dedicated to flying kites. Society "meetings" are usually on Wilbur Field when it is windy out.
  • The Pilipino American Student Union (PASU),[208] a culture-oriented community service and social activism group. Also integral to PASU is a traditional performing arts arm called Kayumanggi.
  • The Stanford Robber Barons are Stanford's only sketch comedy group, and perform original material for free every quarter on campus. They regularly host events, and have performed at the Laugh Factory and at the SF SketchFest.


Notable faculty and staff

As of late 2012, Stanford has 1,995 tenure-line faculty, senior fellows, center fellows, and medical center faculty.[209]

Award laureates and scholars

Stanford's current community of scholars includes:

Stanford's faculty and former faculty includes 31 Nobel laureates,[5] as well as 19 recipients (22 if visiting professors and consulting professors included) of the Turing Award, the so-called "Nobel Prize in computer science", comprising one third of the awards given in its 44-year history. The university has 27 ACM fellows. It is also affiliated with 4 Gödel Prize winners, 4 Knuth Prize recipients, 10 IJCAI Computers and Thought Award winners, and about 15 Grace Murray Hopper Award winners for their work in the foundations of computer science.

Government and politics

Professors who have served in government include Former Secretary of State Hoover Institution and lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Former President of Peru Alejandro Toledo was a distinguished lecturer from 2007–2009.[214] Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of Los Alamos National Laboratory, makes frequent visits to North Korea to inspect their nuclear weapons facilities, and co-teaches a class on national security with William Perry. Tenzin Tethong, former prime minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, chairs the university's Tibetan Studies Initiative, and was a candidate for Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile.[215] Former US President Benjamin Harrison was a founding professor at Stanford Law School.

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is also home to political theorist Francis Fukuyama, and founding editor of the Journal of Democracy and advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, Larry Diamond.

Humanities and social sciences

Professor and social psychologist Philip Zimbardo oversaw the Stanford Prison Experiment, and psychologist Lewis Terman developed the Stanford-Binet IQ Test. Albert Bandura conducted the Bobo doll experiment, contributing to social learning theory. Tobias Wolff, best known for his memoir This Boy's Life, is a member of the creative writing faculty. Philosophy Professor Joshua Cohen is a scholar in political science, philosophy, and ethics. History Professor Jack N. Rakove won the Pulitzer Prize for his book on the history of the constitution, the subject of a course he teaches at Stanford.

In 2012, it was announced that Alexander Nemerov, art historian and chair of the History of Art Department at Yale University, would join the Stanford faculty as part of the University's efforts to increase its presence in the arts.[216]

The economics department and the Hoover Institution have also been home to more than nine Nobel Prize winners in economics, including Kenneth Arrow, Milton Friedman and Gary Becker. Chair of the economics department Jonathan Levin won the 2011 John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the leading economist under 40. Economist John B. Taylor served as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International affairs, and developed the Taylor Rule. Professor Caroline Hoxby is a leading education economist and directs of the Economics of Education Program for the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is married to fellow Rhodes Scholar and Stanford English Professor Blair Hoxby.

Notable alumni

Stanford alumni have started many companies and, according to Acumen, Victoria's Secret, Firefox,, WhatsApp (Brian Acton)[223] and Participant Media.

Stanford alumni have also founded financial institutions such as the brokerage firm Charles Schwab (Charles R. Schwab), venture capital funds Benchmark, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetson), Khosla Ventures (Vinod Khosla), and Formation 8 (Joe Lonsdale), private equity funds TPG Capital (James Coulter), Bain Capital (Mitt Romney), Hellman & Friedman and Friedman Fleischer & Lowe (Tully Friedman), and Crestview Partners, and hedge funds Farallon Capital (Tom Steyer) and D.E. Shaw & Co. (David E. Shaw). Many leading venture capitalists are Stanford alumni, including Jim Breyer, Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Vinod Khosla, Keith Rabois, Roelof Botha, Brook Byers, Jim Goetz, Bob Kagle, and Peter Fenton, as are financiers Sid Bass and Richard Rainwater and hedge fund manager Andreas Halvorsen.

Stanford-educated executives include former Ruth Porat, Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani, Godrej Industries managing director Nadir Godrej, and Infosys CEO and managing director Vishal Sikka.

Former Japanese Prime Ministers Maldives Mohammed Waheed Hassan, former Vice President of Iran Mohammad-Reza Aref, former Honduras President Ricardo Maduro, King Philippe of Belgium, former United States Senate president pro tempore Carl Hayden, former Arizona governor, supreme court chief justice, and United States Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland, and the current U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker are alumni. U.S. President John F. Kennedy attended Stanford without graduating, as did the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. Former Ghanaian President John Atta Mills earned his J.D. as a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford Law School.[226] U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer and former Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist are also alumni.
Supreme Court Justice-nominee Sandra Day O'Connor (B.A. '50, J.D. '53) talks with President Ronald Reagan outside the White House, July 15, 1981.
Other alumni in politics include UN Ambassador Susan Rice, former Secretary of Defense and current Stanford professor William Perry, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, Eileen Donahoe, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council, William Kennard, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Michael McFaul, US Ambassador to Russia, and current US Senators Dianne Feinstein, Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Cory Booker, and Representatives Xavier Becerra, Judy Biggert, Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, Jim Sensenbrenner, and David Wu. Former U.S. Senators Frank Church (Idaho) and Kent Conrad (North Dakota) also attended Stanford. Chelsea Clinton attended Stanford while her father was President, and met her future husband while attending.[227][228]

Eighteen Stanford graduates including Sally Ride and Mae Jamison have served as astronauts. Jeff Cooper, Richard D. Hearney, and Charles A. Ott, Jr. had notable military careers.

NBA guards Landry Fields and Brevin Knight, NBA centers Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez and Rich Kelley, NFL quarterbacks Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett, John Elway and Andrew Luck, NFL receivers James Lofton, Tony Hill, Gene Washington, Gordon Banks, Ed McCaffrey, Chris Walsh and Doug Baldwin, NFL offensive linemen Pat Donovan, Bruno Banducci, Bob Whitfield, Blaine Nye, NFL running backs Ernie Nevers, Darrin Nelson, Hugh Gallarneau, Jon Ritchie, Scott Laidlaw, NFL defensive backs John Lynch, Richard Sherman, Benny Barnes, NFL defensive lineman Paul Wiggin, NFL linebacker David Wyman, runner Ryan Hall, MLB starting pitcher Mike Mussina, MLB outfielders Sam Fuld and Carlos Quentin, MLB infielder Jed Lowrie, MLB catcher Bruce Robinson, Grand Slam winning tennis players John McEnroe (did not graduate) (singles and doubles) and (doubles) Bob and Mike Bryan, professional golfers Michelle Wie, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods (did not graduate), former New Zealand Football and Queens Park Rangers Defender Ryan Nelsen, Olympic swimmers Jenny Thompson, Summer Sanders and Pablo Morales, Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas, Olympic gymnast Amy Chow, Olympic and World Cup soccer players Julie Foudy, Sarah Rafanelli, Kelley O'Hara, Christen Press, Nicole Barnhart, and Rachel Buehler, Olympic water polo players Tony Azevedo and Brenda Villa, Olympic softball player Jessica Mendoza, Olympic volleyball player Kerri Walsh, Olympic volleyball player Logan Tom, and Heisman finalist Toby Gerhart are alumni.

In the field of entertainment, Sigourney Weaver, Ted Koppel, Ben Savage, Tablo and Rachel Maddow are graduates. Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents films and Game Change is an alum. Actor Jack Palance attended and left just one credit short of graduation; the University later awarded him a drama degree.[229] Reese Witherspoon attended Stanford for one year before starting her film career. Actress Jennifer Connelly dropped out to resume her acting career.[230] Alexander Payne wrote and directed such films as Sideways, The Descendants, and About Schmidt. Alum David Chase, a seven-time Emmy Award winner, is the creator and writer of The Sopranos.[231]

John Steinbeck, author of Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, attended Stanford for five years but did not receive a degree. Ken Kesey studied creative writing at Stanford, and began the manuscript of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest while attending. Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove, studied for two years at Stanford on the Stegner Fellowship. Michael Cunningham author of The Hours attended as did Jeffrey Eugenides, who wrote Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides. N. Scott Momaday is credited as a leader in bringing Native American fiction into mainstream American literature. U.S. Poet Laureates Robert Pinsky and Robert Hass were classmates while attaining their Ph.D.s at Stanford, and another Poet Laureate, Philip Levine, studied poetry at Stanford. Author Marta Acosta also attended Stanford.

Yale Presidents Peter Salovey and Rick Levin and former Harvard President Derek Bok each earned a bachelor's degree at Stanford, and MIT President L. Rafael Reif and former Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau earned their PhDs there. Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber earned his M.D. from Stanford Medical School. Other alumni who became university leaders include former University of California system President Clark Kerr, former Johns Hopkins President William Brody, former Brown University President Vartan Gregorian, former Nanyang Technological University President Su Guaning, National Taiwan University President Lee Si-Chen, and Boston College President William P. Leahy.

Nine Stanford alumni have won the Nobel Prize.[232][233] As of 2013, 112 Stanford students have been named Rhodes Scholars.[234]

See also


  1. ^ It is often stated that Stanford has the largest contiguous campus in the world (or the United States)[8][9] but that depends on definitions. Berry College with over 26,000 acres (11,000 ha), Paul Smith's College with 14,200 acres (5,700 ha), and the United States Air Force Academy with 18,500 acres (7,500 ha) are larger but are not usually classified as universities. Duke University at 8,610 acres (3,480 ha) does have more land, but it is not contiguous. However the University of the South has over 13,000 acres (5,300 ha).
  2. ^ In addition to the main campus of 8,180 acres (3,310 ha) from the Palo Alto Farm, the university was originally endowed with the Vina Ranch of 59,000 acres (24,000 ha) near Vina in Tehama County and the Gridley farm of 22,000 acres (8,900 ha) in Butte County.[34] Unlike the Palo Alto Farm, these lands could be sold and later were. The Vina Ranch was sold in 1918 and the core part is now the Trappist Abbey of New Clairvaux. The Gridley farm was originally part of Rancho Esquon.
  3. ^ "Beta Chi" became increasingly progressive by opening admission to all (even women) and the physical house eventually became the co-op Synergy in 1972 before being destroyed in the aftermath of the 1989 earthquake.[61] The fraternity revived in 1987 and became rehoused in 2003.[62]
  4. ^ The local Sigma Chi chapter, Alpha Omega, reaffiliated with the national organization in 1974. It is notable as the only fraternity on campus to own its house though it leases the land underneath; all other fraternity and sorority houses are owned by the university.[66]


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  11. ^ "Stanford University". In 2002 Stanford University stood as one of the premier centers of higher learning and research in the country. Enrolling over 6,000 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate students a year, the university continued to attract some of the leading scholars in their fields and has produced a long list of renowned alumni. 
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  25. Vint Cerf: BS Math Stanford 1965; MS CS UCLA 1970; PhD CS UCLA 1972 (reference: "Vinton (-Vint-) Gray Cerf")
  26. Alan Newell: BS Physics Stanford 1949; PhD Carnegie Institute of Technology 1957 ( reference: "Alan Newell")
  27. Graduate school alumni who received the Turing Award:
    1. John Hopcroft: MS EE Stanford 1962, Phd EE Stanford 1964; had earned his BS from Seattle University (reference: "John E Hopcroft")
    2. Barbara Liskov: PhD Stanford; had earned BSc from Berkeley 1961 (reference: "Barbara Liskov")
    3. Raj Reddy: PhD Stanford 1966; had earned BS from Guindy College of Engineering (Madras, India) 1958; M Tech, University of New South Wales 1960 (reference:"Dabbala Rajagopal (-Raj-) Reddy")
    4. Ronald Rivest: PhD Stanford 1974; had earned BA from Yale 1969. (reference:"Ronald (Ron) Linn Rivest")
    5. Robert Tarjan: MS Stanford 1971, PhD 1972; had earned BS from CalTech 1969 (reference: "Robert (Bob) Endre Tarjan" )
    Non-alumni former and current faculty, staff, and researchers who received the Turing Award:
    1. Doug Engelbart, BS EE Oregon State University 1948; MS EE Berkeley 1953; PhD Berkeley 1955. Researcher/Director at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) 1957-1977; Director (Bootstrap Project) at Stanford University 1989-1990 (reference: "Douglas Engelbart" )
    2. Edward Feigenbaum (BS Carnegie Institute of Technology 1956, PhD Carnegie Institute of Technology 1960. Associate Professor at Stanford 1965-1968; Professor at Stanford 1969-2000; Professor Emeritus at Stanford (2000-present) (reference: "Edward A (-Ed-) Feigenbaum" )
    3. Robert Floyd. BA 1953, BSc Physics, both from University of Chicago. Professor at Stanford (1968 - 1994) (reference: "Robert (Bob) Floyd). ).
    4. Sir Antony Hoare. undergraduate at Oxford University. Visiting Professor at Stanford 1973 (reference:"Charles Antony Richard (Tony) Hoare" )
    5. Alan Kay, BA/BS from University of Colorado at Boulder, PhD 1969 from University of Utah. Researcher at Stanford 1969-1971 (reference: "Alan Kay").
    6. John McCarthy (BS Math, CalTech; PhD Princeton). Assistant Professor at Stanford 1953-1955; Professor at Stanford 1962-2011 (reference: "John McCarthy")
    7. Robin Milner (BSc 1956 from Cambridge University). Researcher at Stanford University 1971-1972 (reference: "Arthur John Robin Gorell -Robin- Milner")
    8. Amir Pnueli , BSc Math from Technion 1962, PhD Weizmann Institute of Science 1967. Instructor at Stanford 1967; Visitor at Stanford 1970 (reference: "Amir Pnuel")
    9. Dana Scott, BA Berkeley 1954, PhD Princeton 1958. Associate Professor at Stanford 1963-1967 ( reference: "Dana Stewart Scott")
    10. Niklaus Wirth (BS Swiss Federal Intitute of Technology 1959, MSC Universite Laval, Canada, 1960; PhD Berkeley 1963. Assistant Professor at Stanford University 1963-1967 (reference:"Niklaus E. Wirth")
    11. Andrew Yao: BS physics National University of Taiwan 1967; AM Physics Haravard 1969; PhD Physics, Harvard 1972; PhD CS University of Illinois Urbana-Champagin 1975) Assistant Professor at Stanford University 1976-1981; Professor at Stanford University 1982-1986 (reference: "Andrew Chi-Chih Yao")
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Further reading

  • Lee Altenberg, Beyond Capitalism: Leland Stanford's Forgotten Vision (Stanford Historical Society, 1990)
  • Ronald N. Bracewell, Trees of Stanford and Environs (Stanford Historical Society, 2005)
  • Ken Fenyo, The Stanford Daily 100 Years of Headlines (2003-10-01) ISBN 0-9743654-0-8
  • Jean Fetter, Questions and Admissions: Reflections on 100,000 Admissions Decisions at Stanford (1997-07-01) ISBN 0-8047-3158-6
  • Ricard Joncas, David Neumann, and Paul V. Turner. Stanford University. The Campus Guide. Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. Available online.
  • Stuart W. Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford, Columbia University Press 1994
  • Rebecca S. Lowen, R. S. Lowen, Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford, University of California Press 1997

External links

  • Official website
  • Official athletics website
  • Texts on Wikisource:
    • "Leland Stanford Jr. University".  
    • "Leland Stanford Junior University".  
    • "Leland Stanford, Junior, University".  

Among publications the

Stanford offers its students the opportunity to engage in over 650 student organizations.[201] Groups are often, though not always, partially funded by the University via allocations directed by the student government organization, the ASSU. These funds include "special fees", which are decided by a Spring Quarter vote by the student body. Groups span from Athletic/Recreational (see section on Athletics), Careers/Pre-professional, Community Service, Ethnic/Cultural, Fraternities/Sororities, Health/Counseling, Media/Publications, Music/Dance/Creative Arts (see section on Arts), Political/Social Awareness to Religious/Philosophical.

Student groups

Fraternities and sororities have been active on the Stanford campus since 1891, when the University first opened. In 1944, University President Sigma Chi, which owns its own house (but not the land) on The Row. Six chapters are members of the African American Fraternal and Sororal Association, 11 chapters are members of the Interfraternity Council, 6 chapters belong to the Intersorority Council, and 6 chapters belong to the Multicultural Greek Council.[199]

Greek life

The Windhover Contemplation Center is the most recent addition to spiritual and religious life at Stanford. Windhover's purpose is to provide spiritual sanctuary for students and staff in the midst of their demanding course and work schedules. The center displays the "Windhover" paintings by Nathan Olivera, the late Stanford professor and artist. Windhover was dedicated to the campus on October 8, 2014.[194] Some religions have a larger and more formal presence on campus in addition to the student groups; these include the Catholic Community at Stanford[195] and Hillel at Stanford.[196]

In addition to the church, the Office for Religious Life has a Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning and Experiences (CIRCLE) located on the third floor of Old Union. It offers a common room, an interfaith sanctuary, a seminar room, a student lounge area and a reading room, as well as offices housing a number of Stanford Associated Religions (SAR) member groups and the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Religious Life. Most though not all religious student groups belong to SAR. The SAR directory includes organizations that serve atheist, Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jewish, and Sikh groups, though these groups vary year by year.[193]

Students and staff at Stanford are of many different religions. The Stanford Office for Religious Life's mission is "to guide, nurture and enhance spiritual, religious and ethical life within the Stanford University community" by promoting enriching dialogue, meaningful ritual, and enduring friendships among people of all religious backgrounds. It is headed by a dean with the assistance of a senior associate dean and an associate dean. Stanford Memorial Church, located in the center of campus, has a Sunday University Public Worship service (UPW) usually in the "Protestant Ecumenical Christian" tradition where the Memorial Church Choir sings and a sermon is preached usually by one of the Stanford deans for Religious Life. UPW sometimes has multifaith services.[192] In addition the church is used by the Catholic community and by some of the other Christian denominations at Stanford. Weddings happen most Saturdays and the university has for over 20 years allowed blessings of same-gender relationships and now legal weddings.

Religious life

  • The unofficial motto of Stanford University, selected by President Jordan, is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht."[179] Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, "The wind of freedom blows." The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.[180]
  • "Hail, Stanford, Hail" is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.[181][182]
  • Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman: Stanford does not award honorary degrees,[183][184] but in 1953 the degree of Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university's alumni association. As Stanford's highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.[185]
  • Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram's Head Theatrical Society),[186] The Bearial (in which the Stanford Band performs a funeral-like procession and pierces a stuffed-animal bear on the tip of the Stanford Claw fountain), and an hourly train whistle that counts down the hours until Big Game, orchestrated by the Stanford Axe Committee.
  • Viennese Ball: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program.[187] It is now open to all students.
  • Mausoleum Party: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, which contains the corpses of Leland Stanford, Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the Mausoleum party was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005[188] due to a lack of funding from the alumni,[189] but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented.[190] In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.[191]
  • The Game: The Game is a treasure hunt put on by dorm staff usually in the spring and summer quarters.
  • Former campus traditions include the Big Game bonfire on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which is now inactive because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.
Vintage Stanford University postcard


Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year[171] and has earned 105 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, second most behind the UCLA Bruins, and 467 individual National championships, the most by any university.[172] Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked collegiate athletic program — the NACDA Directors' Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup - annually for the past nineteen years, and is poised to win its twentieth by the school year's end.[173][174][175] Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 244 Olympic medals total, 129 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States.[176][177] Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Games—12 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze.[178]

Its traditional sports rival is Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual "Big Game" between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe. The first "Big Game", played at Haight Street Park in San Francisco on March 19, 1892, established football on the west coast. Stanford won 14 to 10 in front of 8,000 spectators. Stanford's football team played in the first Rose Bowl in 1902. However, the violence of the sport at the time, coupled with the post-game rioting of drunken spectators, led San Francisco to bar further "Big Games" in the city in 1905. In 1906, David Starr Jordan banned football from Stanford. The 1906–1914 "Big Game" contests featured rugby instead of football. Stanford football was resumed in 1919.[170]

Stanford currently has 36 varsity sports (18 female, 15 male, one coed), 19 club sports[168] and 37 intramural sports—about 800 students participate in intercollegiate sports with an offer of about 300 athletic scholarships. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the "Stanford Cardinal", which is a "mascot" name adopted in 1972 after the abandonment of the previous "Indians" owing to racial insensitivity complained by Native American students, referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. It is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA's Division I FBS.[169]

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band rallies football fans with arrangements of "All Right Now" and other contemporary music.
The new Stanford Stadium, site of home football games.


At any time, around 50 percent of the graduate population lives on campus. Now that construction has concluded on the new Munger graduate residence, this percentage has probably increased. First-year graduate students are guaranteed housing.

Another famous style of housing at Stanford is the co-ops. These houses feature cooperative living, where residents and eating associates each contribute work to keep the house running, such as cooking meals or cleaning shared spaces. The co-ops on campus are Chi Theta Chi, Columbae, Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF), Hammarskjöld (which is also the International Theme House), Kairos, Terra (the unofficial LGBT house),[166] and Synergy.[167]

Several residences are considered theme houses. The Academic, Language and Culture Houses include EAST (Education And Society Theme), Hammarskjöld (International Theme), Haus Mitteleuropa (Central European Theme), La Casa Italiana (Italian Language and Culture), La Maison Française (French Language and Culture House), Slavianskii Dom (Slavic/East European Theme House), Storey (Human Biology Theme House), and Yost (Spanish Language and Culture).Cross-Cultural Theme Houses include Casa Zapata (Chicano/Latino Theme in Stern Hall), Muwekma-tah-ruk (American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Theme), Okada (Asian-American Theme in Wilbur Hall), and Ujamaa (Black/African-American Theme in Lagunita Court). Focus Houses include Freshman-Sophomore College (Freshman Focus), Branner Hall (Community Service), Kimball (Arts & Performing Arts), Crothers (Global Citizenship), and Toyon (Sophomore Priority).[163] Theme houses predating the current "theme" classification system are Columbae (Social Change Through Nonviolence, since 1970),[164] and Synergy (Exploring Alternatives, since 1972).[165]

Eighty-nine percent of undergraduate students live in on-campus university housing. First-year students are required to live on campus, and all undergraduates are guaranteed housing for all four undergraduate years.[116][157] According to the Stanford Housing Assignments Office, undergraduates live in 80 different houses, including dormitories, co-ops, row houses, fraternities and sororities.[158] At Manzanita Park, 118 mobile homes were installed as "temporary" housing from 1969 to 1991, but it is now the site of modern dorms Castano, Kimball, and Lantana.[159] Most student residences are located just outside the campus core, within ten minutes (on foot or bike) of most classrooms and libraries. Some are for freshmen only; others give priority to sophomores, others to both freshmen and sophomores; some are for upperclass students only, and some are open to all four classes. Most residences are co-ed; seven are all-male fraternities, three are all-female sororities, and there is also one all-female non-sorority house, Roth House. In most residences, men and women live on the same floor, but a few dorms are configured for men and women to live on separate floors (single-gender floors), including all Wilbur dorms except for Arroyo and Okada.[160] Beginning in 2009–10, the University's housing plan anticipates that all freshmen desiring to live in all-freshman dorms will be accommodated. In the 2009–10 year, almost two-thirds of freshmen will be housed in Stern and Wilbur Halls. The one-third who requested four-class housing will be located in other dormitories throughout campus, including Florence Moore (FloMo).[161] In April 2008, Stanford unveiled a new pilot plan to test out gender-neutral housing in five campus residences, allowing males and females to live in the same room. This was after concerted student pressure, as well as the institution of similar policies at peer institutions such as Wesleyan, Oberlin, Clark, Dartmouth, Brown, and UPenn.[162]

Many students use bicycles to get around the large campus.

Dormitories and student housing

As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates are first-generation students.[156]

As for comparison, Stanford awarded 1,715 undergraduate degrees, 2,278 Master's degrees, 764 doctoral degrees, and 366 professional degrees in the 2011–2012 school year.[116] The four-year graduation rate in the class of 2011 is 76%, and the six-year rate is 96%.[116] The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university's coterminal degree (or "coterm") program, which allows students to earn a Master's degree as an extension of their undergraduate program.[155]

Stanford enrolled 7,061 undergraduate[116] and 11,075 graduate students[116] as of October 2013, and women comprised 47% of undergraduates and 41% of professional and graduate students.[116] In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

Demographics of students 2011/2012 and comparison to California and United States Census 2011 estimates[116][153][154]
Undergraduate Adjusted Percentage[notedemo 1] Graduate California United States
Black or African American[notedemo 2] 7.32% (507) 8.22% 3% (279) 6.6% 13.1%
Asian[notedemo 2] 18.15% (1257) 19.64% 13% (1182)[notedemo 3] 13.6% 5.0%
White[notedemo 2] 36.45% (2525) 39.45% 36% (3163) 39.7% 63.4%
Hispanic/Latino 16.60% (1150) 17.97% 5% (475) 38.1% 16.7%
American Indian or Alaska Native[notedemo 2] 0.91% (63) 0.98% 1% (68) 1.7% 1.2%
Native Hawaiian or other U.S. Pacific Islander 0.46% (32) 0.46% n/a[notedemo 3] 0.5% 0.2%
Two or more races 11.58% (802) 12.53% n/a[notedemo 3] 3.6% 2.3%
Race/ethnicity unknown 0.94% (65) 1.02% 1% (61) n/a n/a
International student 7.59% (526) 33% 33% (2893) n/a n/a
  1. ^ adjusted for US citizens and permanent residents only since racial breakdown in the Stanford data is not given for students here on temporary visas. The census data for California and the United States as a whole does include people who are here on temporary visas or who are undocumented.
  2. ^ a b c d Does not include Hispanic Americans
  3. ^ a b c The data for graduate students merges Asian with Pacific Islander. Also no separate category for multiple races.

Student body

Student life

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings placed it third in 2014,[151] and it has particularly held its second place for many years in the ARWU.[152]

Stanford occupies the number one position in numerous Gallup poll found that Stanford is the second-most prestigious university in the eyes of the general public.[150]

University rankings
ARWU[139] 2
Forbes[140] 2
U.S. News & World Report[141] 4
Washington Monthly[142] 6
ARWU[143] 2
QS[144] 7
Times[145] 4
Domestic college rankings
Ranking name Nature of ranking Rank
Selectivity Acceptance Rate 1
College Preeminence Admissions Index Yield/Selectivity Ratio 1
Council for Aid to Education[132] Annual Fundraising 1
Princeton Review Dream College[133] Students' Dream College 1
Princeton Review Dream College[133] Parents' Dream College 1
Parchment[134] Admitted Student Preference 1
Business Insider[135] Professionals' Assessment 2
Daily Beast[136] Multiple Factors 3
University Entrepreneurship[137] Venture Capital Investment in Alumni Startups 1
NACDA Directors' Cup[138] Annual NCAA Athletic Achievement 1

Reputation and rankings

Stanford also hosts various publishing courses for professionals. The Stanford Professional Publishing Course, which was offered on campus since the late 1970s, brought together international publishing professionals to discuss changing business models in magazine and book publishing. It ended in 2009, although the tradition has continued at Yale with the Yale Publishing Course that began in 2010. Videos from the Stanford Professional Publishing Courses are still made available on their website.[131]

The creative writing program brings young writers to campus via the Stegner Fellowships and other graduate scholarship programs. This Boy's Life author Tobias Wolff teaches writing to undergraduates and graduate students. Knight Journalism Fellows are invited to spend a year at the campus taking seminars and courses of their choice. The Stanford Spoken Word Collective, an extracurricular writing and performance group, also serves as the school's poetry slam team.[130]

Stanford's dance community is one of the most vibrant in the country, with an active dance division in the Drama Department and over 30 different dance-related student groups, including the Stanford Band's Dollie dance troupe. Perhaps most distinctive of all is its social and vintage dance community, cultivated by dance historian Richard Powers and enjoyed by hundreds of students and thousands of alumni. Stanford hosts monthly informal dances (called Jammix) and large quarterly dance events, including Ragtime Ball (fall), the Stanford Viennese Ball (winter), and Big Dance (spring). Stanford also boasts a student-run swing performance troupe called Swingtime and several alumni performance groups, including Decadance and the Academy of Danse Libre.

Stanford has a thriving artistic and musical community. Extracurricular activities include theater groups such as Ram's Head Theatrical Society and the Stanford Shakespeare Society, award-winning a cappella music groups such as the Mendicants,[125] Counterpoint,[126] the Stanford Fleet Street Singers,[127] Harmonics, Mixed Company,[128] Testimony, Talisman, Everyday People, Raagapella,[129] and a group dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, the Stanford Savoyards. Beyond these, the music department sponsors many ensembles including five choirs, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Taiko, and the Stanford Wind Ensemble.

Stanford University is home to the Cantor Center for Visual Arts museum with 24 galleries, sculpture gardens, terraces, and a courtyard first established in 1891 by Jane and Leland Stanford as a memorial to their only child. Notably, the Center possesses the largest collection of Rodin works outside of Paris, France.[124] The Thomas Welton Stanford Gallery, built in 1917, serves as a teaching resource for the Department of Art & Art History as well as an exhibition venue. There are also a large number of outdoor art installations throughout the campus, primarily sculptures, but some murals as well. The Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden near Roble Hall features handmade wood carvings and "totem poles."

Bronze statues by Auguste Rodin are scattered through the campus, including these Burghers of Calais.


The main library in the SU library system is Green Library, which also contains various meeting and conference rooms, study spaces, and reading rooms. Meyer Library, a 24-hour library slated for demolition in 2015, holds various student-accessible media resources and houses one of the largest East Asia collections, whose 540,000 volumes are being transported to an interim location while a new library is rebuilt.[123]

The Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) hold a collection of nearly 9 million volumes, 260,000 rare or special books, 1.5 million e-books, 1.5 million audiovisual materials, 75,000 serials, 6 million microform holdings, and thousands of other digital resources, making it one of the largest and most diverse academic library systems in the world.[122]

Libraries and digital resources

Stanford is home to the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.[120] It also runs the John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists and the Center for Ocean Solutions, which brings together marine science and policy to address challenges facing the ocean.[121]

Other Stanford-affiliated institutions include the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), the Stanford Research Institute (a now independent institution which originated at the university), the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (a major public policy think tank that attracts visiting scholars from around the world), and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education). Unable to locate a copy in any of its libraries, the Soviet Union was obliged to ask the Hoover Institution for a microfilm copy of its original edition of the first issue of Pravda (dated March 5, 1917).[119]

The Stanford Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research oversees more than eighteen independent laboratories, centers, and institutes.[118]

From the Hoover Tower one can see all of the Stanford campus. Pictured is the Main Quad and Serra Street.
Hoover Tower, inspired by the cathedral tower at Salamanca in Spain

Research centers and institutes

Full-time undergraduate tuition was $42,690 for 2013–2014.[116] Stanford's admission process is need-blind for US citizens and permanent residents; while it is not need-blind for international students, 64% are on need-based aid, with an average aid package of $31,411.[116] In 2012/13, the university awarded $126 million in need-based financial aid to 3,485 students, with an average aid package of $40,460.[116] Eighty percent of students receive some form of financial aid.[116] Stanford's no-loan policy waives tuition, room, and board for most families with incomes below $60,000, and most families with incomes below $100,000 are not required to pay tuition (those with incomes up to $150,000 may have tuition significantly reduced).[116][117] 17% of students receive Pell Grants,[116] a common measure of low-income students at a college.

Stanford has been among the most selective institutions in the world for many years. Its most recent undergraduate admit rate (for the class of 2018) further dropped to 5.07%, the lowest in the University's history and lowest of all research universities in the United States (as in 2017).[14]

Stanford University is a large, highly residential research university with a slight majority of enrollments coming from graduate and professional students. It follows a quarter system with Autumn quarter usually starting in late September and Spring Quarter ending in early June.[114] The full-time, four-year undergraduate program has an arts and sciences focus with high graduate student coexistence.[114] Stanford University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[115]

Walkway in the Main Quad

Teaching and learning


In 2006, President Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale.[112] Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in "Seeking Solutions" to global problems, $1.61 billion for "Educating Leaders" by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for "Foundation of Excellence" aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. Over 10,000 volunteers helped in raising 560,000 gifts from more than 166,000 donors.[113]

Stanford has been the top fundraising university in the United States for several years. It raised $911 million in 2006,[106] $832 million in 2007,[107] $785 million in 2008,[108] $640 million in 2009,[109] $599 million in 2010,[110] $709 million in 2011,[111] and $1.035 billion in 2012, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.[15]

The university's endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $17.2 billion in 2008 and had achieved an annualized rate of return of 15.1% since 1998.[95][104] The endowment fell 25% in 2009 as a result of the late-2000s recession, but posted gains of 14.4% in 2010 and 22.4% in 2011, when it was valued at $16.5 billion.[105]

Endowment and fundraising

Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.[103]

The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford University and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.[102]

The University is currently organized into seven academic schools.[100] The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (9 departments), and Earth Sciences (4 departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.[101]

The Board appoints a President to serve as the chief executive officer of the university and prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, manage financial and business affairs, and appoint nine vice presidents.[96] John L. Hennessy was appointed the 10th President of the University in October 2000.[97] The Provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report.[98] John Etchemendy was named the 12th Provost in September 2000.[99]

Stanford University is a tax-exempt corporate trust owned and governed by a privately appointed 34-member Board of Trustees.[6] Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[94] A new trustee is chosen by the remaining Trustees by ballot.[30] The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital).[95]

Administration and organization

Contemporary campus landmarks include the Main Quad and Memorial Church, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts and art gallery, the Stanford Mausoleum and the Angel of Grief, Hoover Tower, the Rodin sculpture garden, the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, the Arizona Cactus Garden, the Stanford University Arboretum, Green Library and the Dish. Frank Lloyd Wright's 1937 Hanna–Honeycomb House and the 1919 Lou Henry Hoover House are both listed on the National Historic Register.


One of the benefits of being a Stanford faculty member is the "Faculty Ghetto", where faculty members can live within walking or biking distance of campus.[93] The Faculty Ghetto is composed of land owned entirely by Stanford. Similar to a condominium, the houses can be bought and sold but the land under the houses is rented on a 99-year lease. Houses in the "Ghetto" appreciate and depreciate, but not as rapidly as overall Silicon Valley values. However, it remains an expensive area in which to own property, and the average price of single-family homes on campus is actually higher than in Palo Alto. Stanford itself enjoys the rapid capital gains of Silicon Valley landowners, although by the terms of its founding the university cannot sell the land.

Faculty residences

Lake Lagunita in early spring; the Dish, a large radio telescope and local landmark, is visible in the Stanford owned foothills behind the lake and is the high point of a popular campus jogging and walking trail.
  • Redwood City: in 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices, although it remains undeveloped.[91][92]

Locations in development:

  • Hopkins Marine Station, located in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
  • Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in locations around the globe; thus, each location, which ranges from Beijing to Cape Town, has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a "mini-Stanford."[88]
  • China: Stanford Center at Peking University housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Peking University.[89][90]

Off the founding grant:

  • Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research, located south of the main campus.
  • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility located west of main campus and originally owned by Stanford but now operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.[86]
  • Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. Lake Lagunita is often dry now, but the university has no plans to artificially fill it.[87]

On the founding grant but away from the main campus:

Stanford currently operates or intends to operate in various locations outside of its main campus.

Other campuses

View of the main quadrangle of Stanford University with Memorial Church in the center background from across the grass covered Oval.

The university campus was listed by Travel + Leisure in September 2011 as one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States[84] and by MSN as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world.[85]

Stanford's main campus is a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (including the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.[83] The United States Postal Service has assigned Stanford two ZIP codes: 94305 for campus mail and 94309 for P.O. box mail. It lies within area code 650.

Stanford University is located on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[20] campus on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.[82] The main campus is adjacent to Palo Alto, bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard, and Sand Hill Road. The university also operates at several more remote locations (see below).

An aerial photograph of the Stanford University campus in 2008. Note the red roofs and sandstone colored exteriors of many of the buildings.

Main campus


Undergraduate admission selectivity also increased, with the acceptance rate dropping from 13% for the class of 2004 to 5.07% for the class of 2018.[14] Stanford's reputation, competitive admissions, and strong legacy of entrepreneurship have contributed to the East-West rivalry between Stanford and such institutions as Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University.[79][80][81]

In 2011, Stanford created the first PhD program in stem cell science in the United States. The program is housed at Stanford Medical School.[78]

Other Stanford programs underwent notable expansion as well, such as the Stanford in Washington Program's creation of the Stanford in Washington Art Gallery in Woodley Park, Washington, D.C., and the Stanford in Florence program's move to Palazzo Capponi, a 15th-century Renaissance palace.[75][76] The university completed the James H. Clark Center for interdisciplinary research in engineering and medicine in 2003, named for benefactor, co-founder of Netscape, Silicon Graphics and WebMD, and former professor of electrical engineering James H. Clark.[77]

Since 2000, Stanford has expanded dramatically. In February 2012, Stanford announced the conclusion of the Stanford Challenge. In a period of five years, Stanford raised $6.2 billion, exceeding its initial goal by $2 billion, making it the most successful university fundraising campaign in history.[72] The funds will go towards 103 new endowed faculty appointments, 360 graduate student research fellowships, scholarships and financial aid, and the construction or renovation of 38 campus buildings. It enabled the construction of the world's largest facility dedicated exclusively to stem cell research, an entirely new campus for the business school, added dramatically to the law school, a brand-new engineering quad, created a new art and art history building, an on-campus concert hall, a new art museum, and a planned expansion of the medical school, among others.[73] In 2012, Stanford opened the Stanford Center at Peking University, a just-under 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2), three-story research center in the Peking University campus. The ceremony featured remarks by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and Stanford President John Hennessy. Stanford became the first American university to have its own building on a major Chinese university campus.[74]

The James H. Clark Center at Stanford University

21st century

In the early 1990s, Stanford was investigated by the U.S. government over allegations that the university had inappropriately billed the government several million dollars for housing, personal expenses, travel, entertainment, fundraising and other activities unrelated to research, including a yacht and an elaborate wedding ceremony.[68][69] The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Stanford President Donald Kennedy in 1992.[69] In an agreement with the Office of Naval Research, Stanford refunded $1.35 million to the government for billing which occurred in the years 1981 and 1992.[70][71] Additionally, the government reduced Stanford's annual research budget by $23 million in the year following the settlement.[71]

Government expenses controversy

The university started actively recruiting minorities in the 1960s. The minorities started organizing and "in five years, students founded the six major community organizations: the Black Student Union (BSU) in 1967, the Asian American Students’ Association (AASA) and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) in 1969, the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) in 1970, the Gay People’s Union in 1971 and the Women’s Collective in 1972."[67]

[note 4][65] President Sterling then sent a letter to the presidents of all universities with Sigma Chi chapters supporting the local chapter and pointing out that University recognition of racially discriminatory groups could violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The suspension continued until Kenneth Washington's poor grades required him to resign anyway from the chapter. In November 1966 the Stanford chapter unanimously severed ties with the national fraternity.[64] Though Sigma Chi officially had removed its no whites policy in 1961 it had then instituted requirements that all members had to be approved by a national committee and that pledges be socially acceptable to other members anywhere.[64][63] chapter pledged Kenneth M. Washington and was suspended allegedly for violating rules on rituals.Sigma Chi However in April 1965 the local [60] Though this was relatively easy for the housing the university directly controlled, it had to work with the fraternities which invite their own membership (no sororities existed on campus at this time). In 1960, the

"The University is opposed to discriminatory racial and religious clauses and practices. Insofar as such clauses or practices presently exist, the University will work actively with student groups to eliminate them at the earliest possible date"[59]

In 1957 the Board of Trustees adopted a policy stating:

Though Stanford has never officially prohibited the admission of black students, people of Asian descent, or Native Americans, it did not treat them equally with those considered as White. Discrimination also existed against non-Christians. (The first Black graduate was Ernest Houston Johnson in 1895 who received a degree in economics.)[58]

Civil rights

In 1962 through 1970, negotiations took place between the Cambridge Electron Accelerator Laboratory (shared by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and the US Atomic Energy Commission over the proposed 1970 construction of the Stanford Positron Electron Asymmetric Ring (SPEAR). It would be the first US electron-positron colliding beam storage ring. Paris (2001) explores the competition and cooperation between the two university laboratories and presents diagrams of the proposed facilities, charts detailing location factors, and the parameters of different project proposals between 1967 and 1970. Several rings were built in Europe during the five years that it took to obtain funding for the project, but the extensive project revisions resulted in a superior design that was quickly constructed and paved the way for Nobel Prizes in 1976 for Burton Richter and in 1995 for Martin Perl.[56] During 1955–85, solid state technology research and development at Stanford University followed three waves of industrial innovation made possible by support from private corporations, mainly Bell Telephone Laboratories, Shockley Semiconductor, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Xerox PARC. In 1969 the Stanford Research Institute operated one of the four original nodes that comprised ARPANET, predecessor to the Internet.[57]


The biological sciences department evolved rapidly from 1946 to 1972 as its research focus changed, due to the Cold War and other historically significant conditions external to academia. Stanford science went through three phases of experimental direction during that time. In the early 1950s the department remained fixed in the classical independent and self-directed research mode, shunning interdisciplinary collaboration and excessive government funding. Between the 1950s and mid-1960s biological research shifted focus to the molecular level. Then, from the late 1960s onward, Stanford's goal became applying research and findings toward humanistic ends. Each phase was preempted by larger social issues, such as the escalation of the Cold War, the launch of Sputnik, and public concern over medical abuses.[55]


During the 1940s and 1950s, Frederick Terman, as dean of engineering and later as provost, encouraged faculty and graduates to start their own companies. He is credited with nurturing Hewlett-Packard, Varian Associates, and other high-tech firms, until what would become Silicon Valley grew up around the Stanford campus. Terman is often called "the father of Silicon Valley."[52] Terman encouraged William B. Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor, to return to his hometown of Palo Alto. In 1956 he established the Shockley Transistor Laboratory.[53]

A powerful sense of regional solidarity accompanied the rise of Silicon Valley. From the 1890s, the university's leaders saw its mission as service to the West and shaped the school accordingly. At the same time, the perceived exploitation of the West at the hands of eastern interests fueled booster-like attempts to build self-sufficient indigenous local industry. Thus, regionalism helped align Stanford's interests with those of the area's high-tech firms for the first fifty years of Silicon Valley's development. The distinctive regional ethos of the West during the first half of the 20th century is an ingredient of Silicon Valley's already prepared environment, an ingredient that would-be replicators ignore at their peril.[51]

High tech

After Ray Lyman Wilbur retired in 1943 in the midst of World War II, Donald Tresidder, president of the Board of Trustees, took over as president until his unexpected death in early 1948. In 1949 Wallace Sterling became president (1949-1968) and he oversaw the rise of Stanford as a regional university to one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. He was succeeded by Kenneth Pitzer from Rice University who lasted only 19 months having stepped in just as the university entered its most tumultuous period of student protests. Richard Lyman, former provost, was president from 1971 until 1980; Donald Kennedy also a former provost was president from 1980 until 1992 when he resigned during the midst of a controversy over finances with the U.S. Government. The Board of Trustees brought in an outsider, Gerhard Casper, from the University of Chicago who was president until 2000.

World War II and late 20th century

Jordan, the first president, stepped down in 1913 and was succeeded for two years by John Casper Branner. Branner was followed by Ray Lyman Wilbur, who was president from 1916 until 1943, except when he took leave to serve as Secretary of the Interior under President Herbert Hoover. Hoover along with his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, were among the first graduates of Stanford. Herbert Hoover was also a trustee of the university. The house they had built on campus as their own residence, Lou Henry Hoover House, became the University president's house after the death of Lou Henry Hoover in 1944.

The year after Jane Stanford's death, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake damaged parts of the campus and caused new financial and structural problems, though only two people on campus were killed. Some of the early construction, especially from the second phase between Leland Stanford's death in 1893 and Jane Stanford's death in 1905, was destroyed by the earthquake. The university retains the Quad, part of the Museum, the old Chemistry Building (which is not in use, has been boarded up since 1986, and was subsequently damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake),[49][50] and Encina Hall (then the men's undergraduate dormitory). The earthquake destroyed parts of the Main Quad, including the original iteration of Memorial Church and the gate that first marked the entrance of the school, as well as a partially built main library. Rebuilding on a somewhat less grandiose scale began immediately.

The ruins of the unfinished Stanford Library after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake

Post-founders (1906–1941)

However, overall, Jane Stanford contributed significantly to the university. Faced with the possibility of financial ruin for the institution, she took charge of financial, administrative, and development matters at the university 1893–1905. For the next several years, she paid salaries out of her personal resources, even pawning her jewelry to keep the university going. In 1901, she transferred $30 million in assets, nearly all her remaining wealth, to the university;[47] upon her death in 1905, she left the university nearly $4 million of her remaining $7 million. In total, the Stanfords donated around $40 million in assets to the university, over $1 billion in 2010 dollars.[48]

Jane Stanford's actions were sometimes eccentric. In 1897, she directed the board of trustees "that the students be taught that everyone born on earth has a soul germ, and that on its development depends much in life here and everything in Life Eternal".[46] She forbade students from sketching nude models in life-drawing class, banned automobiles from campus, and did not allow a hospital to be constructed so that people would not form an impression that Stanford was unhealthy. Between 1899 and 1905, she spent $3 million on a grand construction scheme building lavish memorials to the Stanford family, while university faculty and self-supporting students were living in poverty.[46]

[45] holdings to the university.stock granting Stanford an exemption from taxation on its educational property—a change which allowed Jane Stanford to donate her California state constitution for an amendment to the lobbied Working with his brother Thomas (also a Stanford graduate and a lawyer), Crothers identified and corrected numerous major legal defects in the terms of the university's founding grant and successfully [44] When Leland Stanford died in 1893, the continued existence of the university was in jeopardy. A $15 million government lawsuit against Stanford's estate, combined with the

Statue of the Stanford family, by Larkin G. Mead (1899)

Early finances

Edward Alsworth Ross gained fame as a founding father of American sociology; in 1900 Jane Stanford fired him for radicalism and racism, unleashing a major academic freedom case.[41]

In Spring 1891, the Stanfords offered the presidency of their new university to the president of [40]

Early faculty and administration

In the summer of 1886, when the campus was first being planned, Stanford brought the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Francis Amasa Walker, and prominent Boston architect Frederick Law Olmsted westward for consultations.[36] Olmsted worked out the general concept for the campus and its buildings, rejecting a hillside site in favor of the more practical flatlands. The Boston firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge were hired in the Autumn and Charles Allerton Coolidge then developed this concept in the style of his late mentor, Henry Hobson Richardson. The Richardsonian Romanesque style, characterized by rectangular stone buildings linked by arcades of half-circle arches, was merged with the Californian Mission Revival style desired by the Stanfords.[36] However by 1889, Leland Stanford severed the connection with Olmsted and Coolidge and their work was continued by others.[36] The red tile roofs and solid sandstone masonry are distinctly Californian in appearance and famously complementary to the bright blue skies common to the region, and most of the more recent campus buildings have followed the Quad's pattern of buff colored walls, red roofs, and arcades, giving Stanford its distinctive "look".

The campus master plan (1886-1914) was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and later his sons. The Main Quad was designed by Charles Allerton Coolidge and his colleagues, and by Leland Stanford himself.[35] The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887, which would have been Leland Stanford Junior's nineteenth birthday.[2][36][37]

The Stanfords chose their country estate, Palo Alto Stock Farm, in northern Santa Clara County as the site of the university, so that the University is often called "the Farm" to this day.[note 2]

Physical layout

Despite the duty to have a co-educational institution in 1899 Jane Stanford, the remaining Founder, added to the Founding Grant the legal requirement that "the number of women attending the University as students shall at no time ever exceed five hundred". She feared the large numbers of women entering would lead the school to become "the Vassar of the West" and felt that would not be an appropriate memorial for her son. In 1933 the requirement was reinterpreted by the trustees to specify an undergraduate male:female ratio of 3:1.[31] The "Stanford ratio" of 3:1 remained in place until the early 1960s. By the late 1960s the "ratio" was about 2:1 for undergraduates, but much more skewed at the graduate level, except in the humanities. In 1973 the University trustees successfully petitioned the courts to have the restriction formally removed. As of 2005 the undergraduate enrollment is split nearly evenly between the sexes, though males outnumber females about 1.6:1 at the graduate level.[32][33] In the same petition they also removed the prohibition of sectarian worship on campus (previous only non-denominational Christian worship in Stanford Memorial Church was permitted).

Though the trustees are in overall charge of the university, Leland and Jane Stanford as Founders retained great control until their deaths.

  • To establish and maintain at such University an educational system, which will, if followed, fit the graduate for some useful pursuit, and to this end to cause the pupils, as easily as may be, to declare the particular calling, which, in life, they may desire to pursue; ...
  • To prohibit sectarian instruction, but to have taught in the University the immortality of the soul, the existence of an all-wise and benevolent Creator, and that obedience to His laws is the highest duty of man.
  • To have taught in the University the right and advantages of association and co-operation.
  • To afford equal facilities and give equal advantages in the University to both sexes.
  • To maintain on the Palo Alto estate a farm for instruction in agriculture in all its branches."

"The Trustees ... shall have the power and it shall be their duty:

The university's Founding Grant of Endowment from the Stanfords was issued in November 1885.[30] Besides defining the operational structure of the university, it made several specific stipulations:

Leland Stanford, the university's founder, as painted by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier in 1881 and now on display at the Cantor Center

Stanford was founded by Leland Stanford, a railroad magnate, U.S. senator, and former California governor, together with his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford. It is named in honor of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died in 1884 just before his 16th birthday. His parents decided to dedicate a university to their only son, and Leland Stanford told his wife, "The children of California shall be our children."[2] The Stanfords visited Harvard's president, Charles Eliot, and asked whether he should establish a university, technical school or museum. Eliot replied that he should found a university and an endowment of $5 million would suffice (in 1884 dollars; about $131 million today[28]).[29]


The university officially opened on October 1, 1891 to 555 students. On the university's opening day, Founding President David Starr Jordan (1851–1931) said to Stanford's Pioneer Class: "[Stanford] is hallowed by no traditions; it is hampered by none. Its finger posts all point forward."[27] However, much preceded the opening and continued for several years until the death of the last Founder, Jane Stanford, in 1905 and the destruction of the 1906 earthquake.

Origins and early years (1885–1906)



  • History 1
    • Origins and early years (1885–1906) 1.1
      • Foundation 1.1.1
      • Physical layout 1.1.2
      • Early faculty and administration 1.1.3
      • Early finances 1.1.4
    • Post-founders (1906–1941) 1.2
    • World War II and late 20th century 1.3
      • High tech 1.3.1
      • Biology 1.3.2
      • Physics 1.3.3
      • Civil rights 1.3.4
      • Government expenses controversy 1.3.5
    • 21st century 1.4
  • Campus 2
    • Main campus 2.1
    • Other campuses 2.2
    • Faculty residences 2.3
    • Landmarks 2.4
  • Administration and organization 3
    • Endowment and fundraising 3.1
  • Academics 4
    • Teaching and learning 4.1
    • Research centers and institutes 4.2
    • Libraries and digital resources 4.3
    • Arts 4.4
    • Reputation and rankings 4.5
  • Student life 5
    • Student body 5.1
    • Dormitories and student housing 5.2
    • Athletics 5.3
    • Traditions 5.4
    • Religious life 5.5
    • Greek life 5.6
    • Student groups 5.7
  • People 6
    • Notable faculty and staff 6.1
      • Award laureates and scholars 6.1.1
      • Government and politics 6.1.2
      • Humanities and social sciences 6.1.3
    • Notable alumni 6.2
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Stanford faculty and alumni have founded many companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!, and companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.[22] Fifty-nine Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the University,[23] and it is the Alma Mater of 30 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. Stanford has produced a total of 18 Turing Award laureates,[24] the highest in the world for any one institution. It is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.[25][26]

Stanford's undergraduate program is the most selective in the country with an acceptance rate of 5.07% for the 2018 Class.[14] Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the University is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pacific-12 Conference. It has gained 105 NCAA championships, the second-most for a university, and has won the NACDA Directors' Cup every year since 1994-1995.[21]

[15] The University is the top fundraising institution in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.[20][7], located outside the main campus.nature reserves with several other holdings, such as laboratories and [8]United States campus is one of the largest of its kind in the [20]

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