Stanford was founded in 1885 by the former Governor of California and future U.S. Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, as a memorial to their only son, Leland Stanford Jr., who died of typhoid in Europe a few weeks before his 16th birthday. The Stanfords used their farm lands to create the university, and hoped to establish a major research university in the West, the first of its kind. In addition, the university was established as a co-educational institution, enrolling both male and female students.
Stanford University enrolls about 6,700 undergraduates from all over the United States and the world, as well as about 8,000 graduate students. There are approximately over 160,000 living Stanford alumni, both undergraduate and graduate. There are also 18 Nobel Prize laureates affiliated with Stanford. The University, because of its close location to Silicon Valley, offers strong programs in business management and engineering; many Stanford alumni have founded companies associated with technology, such as HP, Sun Microsystems and Google. It is also known as a highly selective school, with competitive admissions cycles. It is currently ranked 4th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.
Stanford was founded by railroad magnate and California Governor Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Stanford. It is named in honor of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid just before his 16th birthday. They decided to dedicate a university to their only son, and Leland Stanford told his wife, "The children of California shall be our children."
The story that a lady in "faded gingham" and a man in a "homespun threadbare suit" went to visit the president of Harvard about making a donation, were rebuffed, and then founded Stanford is untrue.
Locals and members of the university community are known to refer to the school as The Farm, a nod to the fact that the university is located on the former site of Leland Stanford's horse farm.
The University's founding grant was written on November 11, 1885, and accepted by the first Board of Trustees on November 14. The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887, and the University officially opened on October 1, 1891, to 559 students and 15 faculty members, seven of whom hailed from Cornell University. At the opening of the school, there was no tuition for students, a program which lasted into the 1930s Among the first class of students was a young future president Herbert Hoover, who would claim to be first student ever at Stanford, by virtue of having been the first person in the first class to sleep in the dormitory.
On October 1, 1891, Stanford University opened its doors after six years of planning and building. In the early morning hours, construction workers were still preparing the Inner Quadrangle for the opening ceremonies. The great arch at the western end had been backed with panels of red and white cloth to form an alcove where the dignitaries would sit. Behind the stage was a life-size portrait of Leland Stanford, Jr., in whose memory the university was founded. About 2,000 seats, many of them sturdy classroom chairs, were set up in the 3-acre Quad, and they soon proved insufficient for the growing crowd. By midmorning, people were streaming across the brown fields on foot. Riding horses, carriages and farm wagons were hitched to every fence and at half past ten the special train from San Francisco came puffing almost to the university buildings on the temporary spur that had been used during construction.
The school was established as a coeducational institution although it maintained a cap on female enrollment for many years. This was based on a concern of Jane Stanford, who worried that without such a cap, the school could become an all-female institution, which she did not feel would be an appropriate memorial for her son.
The 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed parts of the Main Quad (including the original iteration of Memorial Church) as well as the gate that first marked the entrance of the school; rebuilding on a somewhat less grandiose scale began immediately.
The official motto of Stanford University, selected by the Stanfords, is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht." Translated from the German, this quotation of Ulrich von Hutten means "The wind of freedom blows." At the time of the school's establishment, German had recently replaced Latin as the supraregional language of science and philosophy.
Stanford University's campus is located approximately southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of San Jose. Stanford is situated adjacent to the city of Palo Alto, on the San Francisco Peninsula. It also operates the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, California, in Monterey Bay. The main campus is bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard and Sand Hill Road, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula.
Stanford University owns which makes it the largest university campus in the world, in terms of contiguous area. Moscow State University, which is built vertically and has a large floor area, is the largest university, but occupies a smaller piece of land. Berry College occupies 28,000 acres (110 km²) of contiguous land, and Paul Smith's College occupies of land in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, but neither is a university. Duke University occupies 8,709 acres (35.2 km²), but they are not contiguous. The United States Air Force Academy has a contiguous 18,000 acres (73 km²) at its disposal, but it is not a university. Dartmouth College, with a large land grant, owns more than 50,000 acres (200 km²), but only 269 of those are part of the campus.
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 landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted westward for consultations. Olmsted worked out the general concept for the campus and its buildings, rejecting a hillside site in favor of the more practical flatlands. Charles Allerton Coolidge then developed this concept in the style of his late mentor, Henry Hobson Richardson, in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, characterized by rectangular stone buildings linked by arcades of half-circle arches. The original campus was also designed in the Spanish-colonial style common to California known as Mission Revival. The red tile roofs and solid sandstone masonry hold a distinctly Californian appearance and most of the subsequently erected buildings have maintained consistent exteriors. The red tile roofs and bright blue skies common to the region are a famously complementary combination.
Much of this first construction was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but the University retains the Quad, the old Chemistry Building and Encina Hall (the residence of Herbert Hoover, John Steinbeck, and Anthony Kennedy during their times at Stanford). After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake inflicted further damage, the University implemented a billion-dollar capital improvement plan to retrofit and renovate older buildings for new, up-to-date uses.
Stanford University is actually its own census-designated place which is part of unincorporated Santa Clara County though some of the university land is within the city limits of Palo Alto. For many intents and purposes it can be considered a part of the city of Palo Alto; they share the same school district and fire department though the police forces are separate. The United States Postal Service has assigned it two ZIP codes: 94305 for campus mail and 94309 for P.O. box mail. It lies within area code 650 and campus phone numbers start with 723, 724, 725, 736, 497, or 498.
The physicist Werner Heisenberg was once asked if he knew where Stanford University was located. "I believe it is on the west coast of the United States, not far from San Francisco. There is also another school nearby, and they steal each other's axes," he replied, referring to Stanford's rivalry with the University of California, Berkeley.
The schools of the University include the School of Humanities and Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Earth Sciences, School of Education, Graduate School of Business, Stanford Law School and the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The University enrolls approximately 6,700 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate students. The University has approximately 1,700 faculty members. The largest part of the faculty (40 percent) are affiliated with the medical school, while a third serve in the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Stanford's current community of scholars includes: 18 Nobel Prize laureates; 135 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 82 members of National Academy of Engineering; 224 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 21 recipients of the National Medal of Science; three recipients of the National Medal of Technology; 26 members of the National Academy of Education; 41 members of American Philosophical Society; 4 Pulitzer Prize winners; 23 MacArthur Fellows; 7 Wolf Foundation Prize winners; 7 Koret Foundation Prize winners; 7 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners.
Stanford built its international reputation as the pioneering Silicon Valley institution through top programs in business, engineering and the sciences, spawning such companies as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, NVIDIA, VMware, Yahoo!, Google, and Sun Microsystems—indeed, "Sun" originally stood for "Stanford University Network." In addition, the Stanford Research Institute operated one of the four original nodes that comprised ARPANET, predecessor to the Internet. The university also offers distinguished programs in the humanities and social sciences, particularly American studies, creative writing, history, political science, economics, communication, music, and psychology.
Other Stanford-affiliated institutions include the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and the Stanford Research Institute, a now-independent institution which originated at the University, in addition to the Stanford Humanities Center. Stanford also houses the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, a major public policy think tank that attracts visiting scholars from around the world, and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, which is dedicated to the more specific study of international relations. Apparently because it could not locate a copy in any of its libraries, the Soviet Union was obliged to ask the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, at Stanford University, for a microfilm copy of its original edition of the first issue of Pravda (dated March 5, 1917).
Digital libraries and text services include HighWire Press, the Humanities Digital Information Services group and the Media Microtext Center. Several academic departments and some residences also have their own libraries.
Stanford is a founding and charter member of CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, the nonprofit organization which provides extremely high-performance Internet-based networking to California's K-20 research and education community.
Stanford is one of the most selective universities in the U.S. In 2006, The acceptance rates at the university's law school (7.7 percent), medical school (3.3 percent), and business school (7.9 percent) are also among the lowest in the country. For the Class of 2012, Stanford admitted 2,400 students from a undergraduate applicant pool of 25,298 candidates, resulting in an overall admissions rate of 9.49%, the lowest percentage in the University's 117-year history.
Stanford University's undergraduate program is ranked fourth among national universities by U.S. News and World Report (USNWR)., Stanford University is ranked second among world universities and second among universities in the Americas by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, nineteenth among world universities in the THES-QS World University Rankings,, seventh among national universities by The Washington Monthly, second among "global universities" by Newsweek, and in the first-tier among national universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance. Stanford received $911 million in private donations for the year ended August 31, 2006, the most of all U.S. universities and seventh highest of all charities. Stanford announced recently that it would use some of its endowment to cover the $36,000-a-year tuition for students whose families make under $100,000 a year. For students with family income under $60,000, living costs will also be paid.
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. 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."
Stanford has a thriving artistic and musical community, including theater groups such as Ram's Head Theatrical Society and the Stanford Shakespeare Society, award-winning a cappella music groups, such as the Mendicants, Counterpoint, Stanford Fleet Street Singers, Harmonics, Mixed Company, Testimony, Talisman, Everyday People, Raagapella, and a group dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert and Sullivan--the Stanford Savoyards.
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.
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. There is also an extracurricular writing and performance group called the Stanford Spoken Word Collective, which also serves as the school's poetry slam team.
Stanford also hosts various publishing courses for professionals. Stanford Professional Publishing Course, which has been offered on campus since the late 1970s, brings together international publishing professionals to discuss changing business models in magazine and book publishing.
Stanford has been coeducational since its founding; however, between approximately 1899 and 1933, there was a policy in place limiting female enrollment to 500 students and maintaining a ratio of three males for every one female student. By the late 1960s the "ratio" was about 2:1 for undergraduates and much more skewed at the graduate level, except in the humanities. As of 2005, undergraduate enrollment is split nearly evenly between the sexes, but male enrollees outnumber female enrollees about 2:1 at the graduate level.
Several residences are considered theme houses, with a cross-cultural, academic/language, or focus theme. Examples include Chicano themed Casa Zapata, French language oriented French House, and arts-focused Kimball.
Another famous style of housing at Stanford are the co-ops. These houses feature cooperative living, where residents and eating associates each contribute work to keep the house running. Students often help cook meals for the co-op, or clean the shared spaces. The co-ops are Chi Theta Chi, Columbae, Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF), Hammarskjöld (which is also the International Theme House), Kairos, Terra, and Synergy.
At any time, around 50 percent of the graduate population lives on campus. When construction concludes on the new Munger graduate residence, this percentage will probably increase. First-year graduate students are guaranteed housing.
Older, now inactive traditions include the Big Game bonfire on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall) due to the presence of endangered salamanders.
Stanford participates in the NCAA's Division I-A and is a member of the Pacific-10 Conference. It also participates in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for indoor track (men and women), water polo (men and women), women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse, men's gymnastics, and men's volleyball. Women's field hockey team is part of the NorPac Conference. Stanford's traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, its neighbor to the north in the East Bay.
Stanford offers 34 varsity sports (18 female, 15 male, one coed), 19 club sports and 37 intramural sports—about 800 students participate in intercollegiate sports. The University offers about 300 athletic scholarships.
The winner of the annual "Big Game" between the Cal and Stanford football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe. Stanford's football team played in the first Rose Bowl in 1902. Stanford won back-to-back Rose Bowls in 1971 and 1972. Stanford has played in 12 Rose Bowls, most recently in 2000. Stanford's Jim Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy in 1970.
Club sports, while not officially a part of Stanford athletics, are numerous at Stanford. Sports include archery, badminton, cricket, cycling, equestrian, ice hockey, judo, kayaking, men's lacrosse, polo, racquetball, rugby union, squash, skiing, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon and Ultimate. The men's Ultimate team won a national championship in 2002, the women's Ultimate team in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007, the women's rugby team in 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2008. The cycling team won the 2007 Division I USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.
Until 1930, Stanford did not have a "mascot" name for its athletic teams. In that year, the athletic department adopted the name "Indians." In 1972, "Indians" was dropped after a complaint of racial insensitivity was lodged by Native American students at Stanford.
The Stanford sports teams are now officially referred to as the Stanford Cardinal, referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Cardinal, and later cardinal and white has been the university's official color since the 19th century. The Band's mascot, "The Tree", has become associated with the school in general. Part of the Leland Stanford Junior (pause) University Marching Band (LSJUMB), the tree symbol derives from the El Palo Alto redwood tree on the Stanford and City of Palo Alto seals.
Stanford hosts an annual U.S. Open Series tennis tournament, the Bank of the West Classic) at Taube Stadium. Cobb Track, Angell Field, and Avery Stadium Pool are considered world-class athletic facilities. Stanford Stadium hosted Super Bowl XIX on January 20, 1985, featuring the local San Francisco 49ers defeating the Miami Dolphins by a score of 38-16.
Stanford has won the award for the top ranked collegiate athletic program—the NACDA Director's Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup, every year for the past thirteen years. The Cup has been offered for fourteen years.
NCAA achievements: Stanford has earned 95 NCAA National Titles since its establishment, the second-most by any university; 78 NCAA National Titles since 1980, the most by any university; and 393 individual NCAA championships, the most by any university.
Olympic achievements: According to the Stanford Daily, "Stanford has been represented in every summer Olympiad since 1908." As of 2004, Stanford athletes had won 182 Olympic medals at the summer games; "In fact, in every Olympiad since 1912, Stanford athletes have won at least one and as many as 17 gold medals." Stanford athletes won 25 medals at the 2008 Summer Games.