Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is generally ranked among the best universities in the world by academic publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than one billion dollars in a year.
|Motto||German: Die Luft der Freiheit weht|
Motto in English
|"The wind of freedom blows"|
|Type||Private research university|
|Founder||Leland and Jane Stanford|
|Endowment||$27.7 billion (2019)|
|Budget||$6.6 billion (2020–21)|
|12,508 excluding SHC|
|Students||17,249 (Fall 2019)|
|Undergraduates||6,996 (Fall 2019)|
|Postgraduates||10,253 (Fall 2019)|
|Campus||Suburban, 8,180 acres (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km2)|
|Colors||Cardinal and white|
|NCAA Division I FBS|
Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 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.
The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 128 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors' Cup for 25 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.
As of April 2021, 84 Nobel laureates, 29 Turing Award laureates,[note 1] and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue and have created 5.4 million jobs as of 2011, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020[update]). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.
Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to the memory of Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford's previous Palo Alto farm.
Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford was referred to as the "Cornell of the West" in 1891 due to a majority of its faculty being former Cornell affiliates (professors, alumni, or both), including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.
From an architectural point of view, the Lelands, particularly Jane, wished to see their university look different from the eastern universities, which had often sought to emulate the style of English university buildings. They specified in the founding grant that the buildings should "be like the old adobe houses of the early Spanish days; they will be one-storied; they will have deep window seats and open fireplaces, and the roofs will be covered with the familiar dark red tiles". This guides the campus buildings to this day. The Lelands also hired renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design the campus.
When Leland Stanford died in 1893, the continued existence of the university was in jeopardy due to a federal lawsuit against his estate, but Jane Stanford insisted the university remain in operation throughout the financial crisis. The university suffered major damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; most of the damage was repaired, but a new library and gymnasium were demolished, and some original features of Memorial Church and the Quad were never restored.
During the early 20th century the university added four professional graduate schools. Stanford University School of Medicine was established in 1908 when the university acquired Cooper Medical College in San Francisco; it moved to the Stanford campus in 1959. The university's law department, established as an undergraduate curriculum in 1893, was transitioned into a professional law school starting in 1908, and received accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1923. The Stanford Graduate School of Education grew out of the Department of the History and Art of Education, one of the original 21 departments at Stanford, and became a professional graduate school in 1917. The Stanford Graduate School of Business was founded in 1925 at the urging of then-trustee Herbert Hoover. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.
In the 1940s and 1950s, engineering professor and later provost Frederick Terman encouraged Stanford engineering graduates to invent products and start their own companies. During the 1950s he established Stanford Industrial Park, a high-tech commercial campus on university land. Also in the 1950s William Shockley, co-inventor of the silicon transistor, recipient of the 1956 Nobel Prize for Physics, and later professor of physics at Stanford, moved to the Palo Alto area and founded a company, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. The next year eight of his employees resigned and formed a competing company, Fairchild Semiconductor. The presence of so many high-tech and semiconductor firms helped to establish Stanford and the mid-Peninsula as a hotbed of innovation, eventually named Silicon Valley after the key ingredient in transistors. Shockley and Terman are often described, separately or jointly, as the "fathers of Silicon Valley".