From the Foothills to the Bay
Stanford University still
enjoys the original 8,100 acres of grassy fields, eucalyptus groves, and
rolling hills that were the Stanfords generous legacy.
Stanford at a Glance
On October 1, 1891, the
465 new students who were on hand for opening day ceremonies at Leland
Stanford Junior University greeted Leland and Jane Stanford enthusiastically,
with a chant they had made up and rehearsed only that morning. Wah-hoo!
Wah-hoo! L-S-J-U! Stanford! Its wild and spirited tone symbolized the
excitement of this bold adventure. As a pioneer faculty member recalled,
"Hope was in every heart, and the presiding spirit of freedom prompted
us to dare greatly."
For the Stanfords
on that day, the university was the realization of a dream and a fitting
tribute to the memory of their only son, who had died of typhoid fever
weeks before his sixteenth birthday. Far from the nations center
of culture and unencumbered by tradition or ivy, the new university drew
students from all over the country: many from California; some who followed
professors hired from other colleges and universities; and some simply
seeking adventure in the West. Though there were many difficulties during
the first months housing was inadequate, microscopes and books
were late in arriving from the East the first year foretold greatness.
As Jane Stanford wrote in the summer of 1892, "Even our fondest hopes
have been realized."
Ideas of "Practical Education"
Governor and Mrs. Stanford
had come from families of modest means and had built their way up through
a life of hard work. So it was natural that their first thoughts were
to establish an institution where young men and women could "grapple
successfully with the practicalities of life." As their thoughts
matured, these ideas of "practical education" enlarged to the
concept of producing cultured and useful citizens who were well-prepared
for professional success.
More than one hundred
years later, the university still enjoys the original 8,180 acres (almost
13 square miles) of grassy fields, eucalyptus groves, and rolling hills
that were the Stanfords generous legacy, as well as the Quadrangle
of "long corridors with their stately pillars" at the center
of campus. It is still true, as the philosopher William James said, during
his stint as a visiting professor, that the climate is "so friendly
... that every morning wakes one fresh for new amounts of work."
In other ways, the University
has changed tremendously on its way to recognition as one of the worlds
great universities. At the hub of a vital and diverse Bay Area, Stanford
is an hours drive south of San Francisco and just a few miles north
of the Silicon Valley, an area dotted with computer and high technology
firms largely spawned by the Universitys faculty and graduates.
On campus, students and faculty enjoy new libraries, modern laboratories,
sports facilities, and comfortable residences. Contemporary sculpture,
as well as pieces from the Stanford Museums extensive collection
of sculpture by Auguste Rodin, is placed throughout the campus, providing
unexpected pleasures at many turns. At the Stanford Medical Center, world-renowned
for its research, teaching, and patient care, scientists and physicians
are searching for answers to fundamental questions about health and disease.
Ninety miles down the coast, at Stanfords Hopkins Marine Station
on the Monterey Bay, scientists are working to better understand the mechanisms
of evolution, human development, and ecological systems.
The University is
organized into seven schools: Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering,
the Graduate School of Business, Humanities and Sciences, Law and Medicine.
In addition, there are more than 30 interdisciplinary centers, programs,
and research laboratories including the Hoover Institution on War,
Revolution and Peace; the Institute for International Studies; the Stanford
Linear Accelerator Center; and the Stanford Center for the Study of Families,
Children and Youth where faculty from a wide range of fields bring
different perspectives to bear on issues and problems. Stanfords
Overseas Studies Program offers students in all fields remarkable opportunities
for study abroad, with campuses in Paris, Kyoto, Santiago, Berlin, Oxford,
Florence, and Moscow.
By any measure, Stanfords
faculty which numbers approximately 1,500 is one of the
most distinguished in the nation. It includes 12 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer
Prize winners, 20 National Medal of Science winners, 109 members of the
National Academy of Sciences, 208 members of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences, 72 members of the National Academy of Engineering, and 21
members of the National Academy of Education. Yet beyond their array of
honors, what truly distinguishes Stanford faculty is their commitment
to sharing knowledge with their students. The great majority of professors
teach undergraduates both in introductory lecture classes and in small
Currently 13,900 students,
of which 6,556 are undergraduates, live and study on campus. About 40
percent come from California, but all 50 states and approximately 100
countries are represented as well. Among undergraduates, 44 percent are
African American, Asian American, Hispanic or Native American. Like the
faculty, the Stanford student body is distinguished. Approximately 10
students apply to Stanford for every place in the freshman class. Seventy-six
Stanford students have been named Rhodes Scholars and 52 have been named
Marshall Scholars. Nearly 90 percent of graduating seniors plan to attend
graduate or professional schools. Stanford students also shine in a tremendous
array of activities outside the classroom from student government
to music, theater, and journalism. Through the Haas Center for Public
Service, students participate in dozens of community service activities,
such as tutoring programs for children in nearby East Palo Alto, the Hunger
Project, and the Arbor Free Clinic.
In the athletic arena,
Stanford students have enjoyed tremendous success as well. Stanford fields
teams in 33 Division I varsity sports equally divided between mens
and womens teams. Of Stanfords 88 national team titles, 38
have been captured in the past 10 years, by far the most in the nation.
Thirty-eight of Stanfords athletes and coaches participated in the
1992 Olympics in Barcelona while 49 competed in Atlanta at the 1996 Games
by far the most of any university in the nation, and 34 participated
in the 2000 Games in Sydney. Intramural and club sports are also popular;
over 1,000 students take part in the club sports program, while participation
in the intramural program has reached 9,000, with many students active
in more than one sport.
In her address to the Board
of Trustees, in 1904, Jane Stanford said, ". . . Let us not be afraid
to outgrow old thoughts and ways, and dare to think on new lines as to
the future of the work under our care." Her thoughts echo in the
words of former Stanford President Gerhard Casper, who has said, "The
true university must reinvent itself every day. . . . At Stanford, these
are days of such reconsideration and fresh support for our fundamental
tasks teaching, learning, and research."