Stanford University

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"Stanford" redirects here. For other uses, see Stanford (disambiguation).
Stanford University
Leland Stanford Junior 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
Administrative 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
Colors Cardinal and white
Athletics NCAA Division I (FBS) Pac-12
Nickname Cardinal
Mascot Cardinal (official), Stanford Tree (unofficial, mascot of LSJUMB)

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University,[10] is a private research university in Stanford, California, and one of the world's most prestigious institutions,[11][12][13][14] with the top position in numerous rankings and measures in the United States.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

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 had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford admitted its first students on October 1, 1891[2][3] as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Tuition was free until 1920.[22][23] The university struggled financially after Leland Stanford's 1893 death and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[24] 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).[25]

The main campus is in northern Santa Clara Valley adjacent to Palo Alto and between San Jose and San Francisco. Stanford also has land and facilities elsewhere.[7][26] Its 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[26] campus is one of the largest in the United States.[8] The university is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.[27]

Stanford's academic strength is broad with 40 departments in the three academic schools that have undergraduate students and another four professional schools. 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 108 NCAA team championships,[28] the second-most for a university, 476 individual championships, the most in Division I,[29] and has won the NACDA Directors' Cup, recognizing the university with the best overall athletic team achievement, every year since 1994-1995.[30]

Stanford faculty and alumni have founded many companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, Instagram 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.[31] It is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, and 18 Turing Award laureates.[note 2] It is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.[50][51] The University has affiliated with 59 Nobel laureates and 2 Fields Medalists (when awarded).[52][53]


Origins and early years (1885–1906)

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."[54] 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.


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 from typhoid fever 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 $132 million today[55]).[56]

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

The university's Founding Grant of Endowment from the Stanfords was issued in November 1885.[57] Besides defining the operational structure of the university, it made several specific stipulations:

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

  • 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."

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

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.[58] 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 2014 the undergraduate enrollment is split nearly evenly between the sexes (47.2% women, 52.8% men), though males outnumber females (38.2% women, 61.8% men) at the graduate level.[59][60] 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).

Physical layout

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 3]

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.[63] The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887, which would have been Leland Stanford Junior's nineteenth birthday.[2][64][65]

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.[64] 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.[64] However, by 1889, Leland Stanford severed the connection with Olmsted and Coolidge and their work was continued by others.[64] 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".

Early faculty and administration

In Spring 1891, the Stanfords offered the presidency of their new university to the president of Cornell University, Andrew White, but he declined and recommended David Starr Jordan, the 40-year-old president of Indiana University Bloomington. Jordan's educational philosophy was a good fit with the Stanfords' vision of a non-sectarian, co-educational school with a liberal arts curriculum, and he accepted the offer.[66] Jordan arrived at Stanford in June 1891 and immediately set about recruiting faculty for the university's planned October opening. With such a short time frame he drew heavily on his own acquaintance in academia; of the fifteen original professors, most came either from Indiana University or his alma mater Cornell. The 1891 founding professors included Robert Allardice in mathematics, Douglas Houghton Campbell in botany, Charles Henry Gilbert in zoology, George Elliott Howard in history, Oliver Peebles Jenkins in physiology and histology, Charles David Marx in civil engineering, Fernando Sanford in physics, and John Maxson Stillman in chemistry. The total initial teaching staff numbered about 35 including instructors and lecturers.[67] For the second (1892–93) school year, Jordan was able to add 29 [68] additional professors including Frank Angell (psychology), Leander M. Hoskins (mechanical engineering), William Henry Hudson (English), Walter Miller (classics), George C. Price (zoology), and Arly B. Show (history). Most of these two founding groups of professors remained at Stanford until their retirement and were referred to as the "Old Guard".[69]

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.[70]

Early finances

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

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 Panic of 1893, made it extremely difficult to meet expenses. Most of the Board of Trustees advised that the University be closed temporarily until finances could be sorted out. However, Jane Stanford insisted that the university remain in operation. When the lawsuit was finally dropped in 1895, a university holiday was declared.[71][72] Stanford alumnus George E. Crothers became a close adviser to Jane Stanford following his graduation from Stanford's law school in 1896.[73] 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 lobbied for an amendment to the California state constitution granting Stanford an exemption from taxation on its educational property—a change which allowed Jane Stanford to donate her stock holdings to the university.[74]

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".[75] 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.[75]

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;[76] 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.[77]

Post-founders (1906–1941)

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

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 currently in use, was boarded up in 1986, subsequently damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and is now undergoing an extensive renovation in preparation for reopening),[78][79] 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.

In 1908 the university acquired the already existing Cooper Medical College in San Francisco and it became the Stanford University Department (later School) of Medicine though it remained in San Francisco until the late 1950s. For the full story see History of Stanford Medicine.

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.

World War II and late 20th century

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.

High tech

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.[80]

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."[81] Terman encouraged William B. Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor, to return to his hometown of Palo Alto. In 1956 he established the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.[82] Unhappy employees from Shockley's company formed Fairchild Semiconductor and other companies eventually spun off from Fairchild.[83]


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.[84]


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.[85] 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.[86]

Civil rights

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.)[87]

In 1957 the Board of Trustees adopted a policy stating:

"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"[88]

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 Alpha Tau Omega chapter had its national charter revoked after refusing to retract the pledging of four Jewish students.[89] And in 1962 Sigma Nu (Beta Chi chapter) seceded from the national organization over the national organization's continuing refusal to drop bans on "Negros and Orientals".[89][90][note 4] As of late 1962 only the Kappa Alpha fraternity still officially discriminated due the national organization's rules.[89] However, in April 1965 the local Sigma Chi chapter pledged Kenneth M. Washington and was suspended allegedly for violating rules on rituals.[92][93] 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.[93] 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.[94][note 5]

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."[96]

Government expenses controversy

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.[97][98] The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Stanford President Donald Kennedy in 1992.[98] 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.[99][100] Additionally, the government reduced Stanford's annual research budget by $23 million in the year following the settlement.[100]

21st century

The James H. Clark Center at Stanford University

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.[101] 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. The new funding also enabled the construction of the world's largest facility dedicated exclusively to stem cell research; an entirely new campus for the business school; a dramatic expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; 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 other things.[102] In 2012, Stanford opened the Stanford Center at Peking University, an almost 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.[103]

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.[104][105] 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.[106]

In 2011, Stanford created the first PhD program in stem cell science in the United States. The program is housed at Stanford Medical School.[107]

Undergraduate admission also became more selective; the acceptance rate dropped from 13% for the class of 2004 to 5.04% for the class of 2019, the lowest admit rate in University history.[108][109] 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.[110][111][112]

Stanford land

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

Most of Stanford University is on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[26] 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; this is the founding grant. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.[113] Besides the central campus described below, the university also operates at several more remote locations, some elsewhere on the main campus, some further afield (see below).

Stanford's main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as 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.[114]

Central campus

The academic central campus is adjacent to Palo Alto, bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard, and Sand Hill Road. 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.

The university campus was listed by Travel + Leisure in September 2011 as one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States[115] and by MSN as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world.[116]

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

Non-central campus

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

On the founding grant:

Off the founding grant:

  • Hopkins Marine Station, 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."[119]
  • 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.[120][121]

Locations in development:

  • 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.[122][123][124]
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.

Faculty residences

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.[125] 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.


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. Previous landmarks included Meyer Library, which has since been demolished. As of March 2015, the old library grounds are intended to be converted to an open green space park.[126] As of 2014, Stanford opened a new meditation center, Windhover Contemplation Center, open to students and faculty.[127]

Administration and organization

Stanford University is a tax-exempt corporate trust 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.[128] A new trustee is chosen by the remaining Trustees by ballot.[57] 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).[129]

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.[130] John L. Hennessy was appointed the 10th President of the University in October 2000.[131] The Provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report.[132] John Etchemendy was named the 12th Provost in September 2000.[133]

The University is currently organized into seven academic schools.[134] The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (9 departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental 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.[135]

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.[136]

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.[137]

Endowment and fundraising

The university's endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $21.4 billion in August 2014, with an annualized rate of return of 14.8% over the previous year.[138][139] 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.[140]

Stanford has been the top fundraising university in the United States for several years. It raised $911 million in 2006,[141] $832 million in 2007,[142] $785 million in 2008,[143] $640 million in 2009,[144] $599 million in 2010,[145] $709 million in 2011,[146] and $1.035 billion in 2012, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.[27] In 2013 and 2014 it raised $932 million and $928 million.[146] Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 23% of University expenses in the 2014 fiscal year, compared to Princeton at 55% and Harvard at 35%.[147]

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.[148] 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.[149]


Teaching and learning

Walkway in the Main Quad

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.[150] The full-time, four-year undergraduate program has an arts and sciences focus with high graduate student coexistence.[150] Stanford University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[151] Its most recent undergraduate admit rate (for the class of 2018) further dropped to 5.07%, the lowest in the University's history.[109]

Full-time undergraduate tuition was $42,690 for 2013–2014.[152] 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.[152] 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.[152] Eighty percent of students receive some form of financial aid.[152] Stanford has a no-loan policy.[152] For undergraduates admitted in 2015, Stanford waives tuition, room, and board for most families with incomes below $65,000, and most families with incomes below $125,000 are not required to pay tuition; those with incomes up to $150,000 may have tuition significantly reduced.[153] 17% of students receive Pell Grants,[152] a common measure of low-income students at a college.

Research centers and institutes

Hoover Tower, inspired by the cathedral tower at Salamanca in Spain
File:Stanford University May 2011 004.jpg
From the Hoover Tower one can see all of the Stanford campus. Pictured is the Main Quad and Serra Street.

The Stanford Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research oversees more than eighteen independent laboratories, centers, and institutes.[154]

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).[155]

Stanford is home to the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.[156] 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.[157]

Libraries and digital resources

The Stanford University Libraries (SUL) hold a collection of more than 9.3 million volumes, nearly 300,000 rare or special books, 1.5 million e-books, 2.5 million audiovisual materials, 77,000 serials, nearly 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.[158]

The main library in the SU library system is Green Library, which also contains various meeting and conference rooms, study spaces, and reading rooms. Lathrop Library (previously Meyer Library, demolished in 2015), holds various student-accessible media resources and houses one of the largest East Asia collections with 540,000 volumes.


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

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.[159] 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."

Stanford has a thriving artistic and musical community. Extracurricular activities include theater groups such as Ram's Head Theatrical Society, The Stanford Improvisors[160] and the Stanford Shakespeare Society, award-winning a cappella music groups such as the Mendicants,[161] Counterpoint,[162] the Stanford Fleet Street Singers,[163] Harmonics, Mixed Company,[164] Testimony, Talisman, Everyday People, Raagapella,[165] 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.

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.[166]

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.[167]

Reputation and rankings

University rankings
ARWU[168] 2
Forbes[169] 2
U.S. News & World Report[170] 4
Washington Monthly[171] 5
ARWU[172] 2
QS[173] 3
Times[174] 3

Stanford is ranked 4th (tied with Columbia University and the University of Chicago) among U.S national universities for 2016 by U.S. News and World Report.[175] Notably, Stanford occupies the number one position in numerous domestic college ranking measures, leading Slate to dub Stanford "the Harvard of the 21st century,"[176] and The New York Times to conclude that "Stanford University has become America’s 'it' school, by measures that Harvard once dominated."[177] From polls done by The Princeton Review in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the most commonly named "dream college" for students was Stanford; separately, parents, too, most frequently named Stanford as their "dream college."[178] Just 12 years ago, a 2003 Gallup poll had Stanford only tied for second as the most prestigious university in the eyes of the general public.[179]

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings placed it third in the world in 2015,[180] while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), has ranked Stanford second in the world for many years.[181]

Domestic college measures
Ranking name Nature of ranking Rank
Selectivity Acceptance Rate 1
Admissions Yield Yield 1
MONEY's Best Colleges [182] Best Value 1
Council for Aid to Education[183] Annual Fundraising 1
Princeton Review Dream College[184] Students' Dream College 1
Princeton Review Dream College[184] Parents' Dream College 1
Parchment[185] Admitted Student Preference 1
Business Insider[186] Professionals' Assessment 1
Daily Beast[187] Multiple Factors 1
Niche[188] Multiple Factors 1
University Entrepreneurship[189] Venture Capital Investment in Alumni Startups 1
NACDA Directors' Cup[190] Annual NCAA Athletic Achievement 1

Student life

Student body

Demographics of students 2011/2012 and comparison to California and United States Census 2011 estimates[152][191][192]
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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Does not include Hispanic Americans
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The data for graduate students merges Asian with Pacific Islander. Also no separate category for multiple races.

Stanford enrolled 7,061 undergraduate[152] and 11,075 graduate students[152] as of October 2013, and women comprised 47% of undergraduates and 41% of professional and graduate students.[152] In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

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.[152] The four-year graduation rate in the class of 2011 is 76%, and the six-year rate is 96%.[152] 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.[193]

As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates are first-generation students.[194]

Dormitories and student housing

Eighty-nine percent of undergraduate students live in on-campus university housing. First-year undergraduates are required to live on campus, and all undergraduates are guaranteed housing for all four undergraduate years.[152][195] Undergraduates live in 80 different houses, including dormitories, co-ops, row houses, and fraternities and sororities.[196] 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, Lantana, and the new Humanities House, completed in 2015.[197][198] Most student residences are 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.[199]

Many students use bicycles to get around the large campus.

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 in other dormitories throughout campus, including Florence Moore (FloMo) and Roble Hall.[200] During Admit Weekend, an event for newly admitted students, Stanford hosts prospective freshmen in freshman dorms with upperclass residence assistants. In April 2008, Stanford unveiled a pilot plan to test gender-neutral housing in five campus residences, allowing friends of different genders to live in two-room doubles, suites, or apartments. 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.[201] As of 2015, gender-neutral housing is offered in ten residences.[202]

Several residences are considered theme houses. The Academic, Language and Culture Houses include EAST (Education And Society Themed House), Hammarskjöld (International Themed House), Haus Mitteleuropa (Central European Themed House), La Casa Italiana (Italian Language and Culture), La Maison Française (French Language and Culture House), Slavianskii Dom (Slavic/East European Themed House), Storey (Human Biology Themed House), and Yost (Spanish Language and Culture). Cross-Cultural Themed Houses include Casa Zapata (Chicano/Latino Theme in Stern Hall), Muwekma-tah-ruk (American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Themed House), Okada (Asian-American Themed House in Wilbur Hall), and Ujamaa (Black/African-American Themed House in Lagunita Court). Focus Houses include Freshman-Sophomore College (Academic Focus), Branner Hall (Community Service), Kimball (Arts & Performing Arts), Crothers (Global Citizenship), and Toyon (Sophomore Priority).[203] Theme houses predating the current "theme" classification system are Columbae (Social Change Through Nonviolence, since 1970),[204] and Synergy (Exploring Alternatives, since 1972).[205]

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. These houses have unique themes around which their community is centered. Many co-ops are hubs of music, art and philosophy. The co-ops on campus are 576 Alvarado Row (formerly Chi Theta Chi), Columbae, Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF), Hammarskjöld, Kairos, Terra (the unofficial LGBT house),[206] and Synergy.[207]

Around 55 percent of the graduate student population lives on campus.[208] First-year graduate students are guaranteed on-campus housing. Stanford also subsidizes off-campus apartments in nearby Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Mountain View for graduate students who are guaranteed on-campus housing but are unable to live on campus due to a lack of space.[209]


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

Stanford currently has 36 varsity sports (18 female, 15 male, one coed), 19 club sports[210] 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 Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey[211] with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA's Division I FBS.

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.[212]

Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year[213] and has earned 108 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, second most behind the UCLA Bruins, and 467 individual National championships, the most by any university.[28] 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 twenty years.[214][215][216] 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.[217][218] Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Games—12 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze.[219]


Vintage Stanford University postcard
  • The unofficial motto of Stanford University, selected by President Jordan, is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht."[54] 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.[220]
  • "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.[221][222]
  • Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman: Stanford does not award honorary degrees,[223][224] 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.[225]
  • 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),[226]
  • 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.[227] 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[228] due to a lack of funding from the alumni,[229] 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.[230] 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.[231]
  • 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.

Religious life

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, 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.[232] 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.

In addition to the church, the Office for Religious Life has a Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning and Experiences (CIRCLE) 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.[233]

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.[234] Some religions have a larger and more formal presence on campus in addition to the student groups; these include the Catholic Community at Stanford[235] and Hillel at Stanford.[236]

Greek life

Fraternities and sororities have been active on the Stanford campus since 1891, when the University first opened. In 1944, University President Donald Tresidder banned all Stanford sororities due to extreme competition.[237] However, following Title IX, the Board of Trustees lifted the 33-year ban on sororities in 1977.[238] Stanford is now home to 29 Greek organizations, including 13 sororities and 16 fraternities, representing 13% of undergraduates. In contrast to many universities, nine of the ten housed Greek organizations live in University-owned houses, the exception being 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.[239]

Student groups

Stanford offers its students the opportunity to engage in over 650 student organizations.[241] 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.

Among publications the Stanford Daily is the daily newspaper serving Stanford University. Now an independent organization (to protect both it and the university from potential conflicts of interest) though on campus, it has been published since the University was founded in 1892. The student-run radio station, KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM, features freeform music programming, sports commentary, and news segments; it started in 1947 as an AM radio station.[242] Literary magazines such as the Leland Quarterly[243] 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[244] 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. For students seeking hands-on business experience, Stanford Marketing is the premier practical training-focused pre-professional organization that seeks to educate students through research and strategy based consulting projects with Fortune 500 clients, as well as in-depth workshops led by industry leaders and professors in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.[245] Due to its broad appeal, membership is often very selective, with applicants having to go through an extensive application process with several rounds of interviews.[246] There are also groups that have a more narrow focus. One such example is Stanford Finance, which is aimed at mentoring students who want to enter a career in finance, through mentors and internships. The Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES), is one of the largest professional organizations in Silicon Valley, with over 5,000 members. Its goal is to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. Stanford Women In Business (SWIB) is an on-campus business organization consisting of over a board of 40 and 100 active members. Each year, SWIB organizes over 25 events and workshops, hosts a winter and spring conference, and provides mentorship and spring quarter internships. StartX is a non-profit startup accelerator for student and faculty-led startups[247] 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.[248]
  • 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[249] (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),[250] 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.
  • The Stanford Improvisors (SIMPS for short) teach and perform improvisational theatre on campus and in the surrounding community.[251] In 2014 the group finished second in the Golden Gate Regional College Improv tournament [252] and they've since been invited twice to perform at the annual San Francisco Improv Festival.[253]


As of late 2014, Stanford has 2,118 tenure-line faculty, senior fellows, center fellows, and medical center faculty.[5] Nearly 220,000 Stanford alumni live in all 50 states and 154 countries as of 2015.[254]

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. Stanford alumni have started many companies and, according to Forbes, has produced the second highest number of billionaires of all universities.[259][260][261]

Eight Stanford alumni have won the Nobel Prize.[262][254] As of 2014, 114 Stanford students have been named Rhodes Scholars.[263]

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. Undergraduate school alumni who received the Turing Award:
    1. Vint Cerf: BS Math Stanford 1965; MS CS UCLA 1970; PhD CS UCLA 1972.[32]
    2. Alan Newell: BS Physics Stanford 1949; PhD Carnegie Institute of Technology 1957.[33]
    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.[34]
    2. Barbara Liskov: PhD Stanford; had earned BSc from Berkeley 1961.[35]
    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.[36]
    4. Ronald Rivest: PhD Stanford 1974; had earned BA from Yale 1969.[37]
    5. Robert Tarjan: MS Stanford 1971, PhD 1972; had earned BS from CalTech 1969.[38]
    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.[39]
    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).[40]
    3. Robert Floyd. BA 1953, BSc Physics, both from University of Chicago. Professor at Stanford (1968 - 1994).[41]
    4. Sir Antony Hoare. Undergraduate at Oxford University. Visiting Professor at Stanford 1973.[42]
    5. Alan Kay, BA/BS from University of Colorado at Boulder, PhD 1969 from University of Utah. Researcher at Stanford 1969-1971.[43]
    6. John McCarthy (BS Math, CalTech; PhD Princeton). Assistant Professor at Stanford 1953-1955; Professor at Stanford 1962-2011.[44]
    7. Robin Milner (BSc 1956 from Cambridge University). Researcher at Stanford University 1971-1972.[45]
    8. Amir Pnueli , BSc Math from Technion 1962, PhD Weizmann Institute of Science 1967. Instructor at Stanford 1967; Visitor at Stanford 1970[46]
    9. Dana Scott, BA Berkeley 1954, PhD Princeton 1958. Associate Professor at Stanford 1963-1967.[47]
    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.[48]
    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.[49]
  3. In addition to the founding grant of 8,180 acres (3,310 ha) the Palo Alto Stock 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.[61] Unlike the Palo Alto Stock 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. Despite the restriction on selling the Palo Alto Stock Farm lands, the government can still acquire the lands by eminent domain and did so to acquire 93 acres for the VA Palo Alto Hospital in 1956; this hospital works closely with the Stanford Medical School.[62]
  4. "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.[90] The fraternity revived in 1987 and became rehoused in 2003.[91]
  5. 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.[95]


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Further reading

External links

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