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"Stanford" redirects here. For other uses, see Stanford (disambiguation).

Stanford University
Leland Stanford Junior University
File:Stanford University seal 2003.svg
Seal of Stanford University
Motto Die Luft der Freiheit weht
Motto in English The wind of freedom blows[1]
Established 1891[2]
Type Private
Endowment $17.04 billion [3]
President John L. Hennessy
Provost John Etchemendy
Academic staff 1,995[4]
Admin. staff 10,979[5] excluding SHC
Students 15,870
Undergraduates 6,999[6]
Postgraduates 8,871[6]
Location Stanford, California, U.S.
Campus Suburban, 8,180 acres (3,310 ha)[7]
Colors Cardinal and white         
Athletics NCAA Division I (FBS) Pac-12
Nickname Cardinal
Mascot Stanford Tree (unofficial)

Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or simply Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California in the northwestern Silicon Valley on an 8,180-acre (33.1 km2) campus near Palo Alto.[note 1][9] It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.[10][11][12][13]

Leland Stanford, governor of and U.S. senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, founded the university in 1891 in memory of their son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid two months before his 16th birthday. The university was established as a coeducational and nondenominational institution. Tuition was free until the 1930s.[14] The university struggled financially after the senior Stanford's 1893 death and 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 become 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).

Today, the University comprises various academic components and has nurtured many prominent alumni. It is organized into seven schools, including academic schools of Humanities and Sciences and Earth Sciences, as well as professional schools of Business, Education, Engineering, Law, and Medicine, with a student body of approximately 7,000 undergraduates and 8,900 graduates.[6] Since 1952, 60 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university.[4] Moreover, it has produced the largest number of Turing Award laureates for a single academic institution, is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and 17 astronauts, and is one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.[15][16] Faculty and alumni have founded many prominent companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!, and companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.[17] Stanford is also home to the original papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.[18] Its most recent acceptance rate, 5.69% for the Class of 2017, was the lowest ever recorded in the university's history.[19]

Stanford competes in 34 varsity sports and is one of two private universities in the Division I FBS Pacific-12 Conference. Stanford has won 104 NCAA championships (the second-most for a university), including at least one for each of the last 37 years, and Stanford's athletic program has won the NACDA Directors' Cup every year since 1995.[20][21] Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 244 Olympic medals total, 129 of them gold. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States and, in terms of total medals won, would have tied with Japan for 11th place.[22][23][24]



Stanford was founded by Leland Stanford, a railroad magnate, United States senator, and former California governor, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford. It is named in honor of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died in 1884 just before his 16th birthday. His parents decided to dedicate a university to their only son, and Leland Stanford told his wife, "The children of California shall be our children." The Stanfords visited Harvard's president, Charles Eliot, and asked how much it would cost to duplicate Harvard in California. Eliot replied that he supposed $5 million (in 1884 dollars) would be enough.[25]

The university's founding Grant of Endowment from the Stanfords was issued in November 1885.[26][27] 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."

The Stanfords chose their country estate, Palo Alto Stock Farm, in Santa Clara County as the site of the university, so that the University is often called "the Farm" to this day.[note 2] The original "inner quad" buildings (1887–91) were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Francis A. Walker, Charles Allerton Coolidge, and Leland Stanford himself.

Visiting Stanford in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt said of the campus and the university, "Now I have come to this great institution of learning and I wonder whether you yourselves fully appreciate the mere physical beauty of your surroundings. I was not prepared in the least (and I thought I was prepared for it) for the beauty of your surroundings. You have had these plans of your university made by a great architect, native to our own American soil, who himself had the sense to adapt—not to copy in servile fashion—but to adapt the old Californian architecture to the new university uses, and so we have here a great institution of learning absolutely unique, even in its outward aspect, situated in this beautiful valley with the hills in the background, under this sky, with these buildings, and if this university does not turn out the right kind of citizenship and the right kind of scholarship, I shall be more than disappointed."[29]

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.[30] 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.[31] For the second (1892–93) school year, Jordan was able to add additional professors including Frank Angell (psychology), Leander M. Hoskins (mechanical engineering), 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".[32]

The university officially opened on October 1, 1891 to 559 students. On the university's opening day, Founding President David Starr Jordan said to Stanford's Pioneer Class: "[Stanford] is hallowed by no traditions; it is hampered by none. Its finger posts all point forward."[33] Herbert Hoover and his future wife Lou Henry Hoover were in the first class; the Hoovers maintained close lifetime ties to the school.

The motto of Stanford University, selected by President Jordan, is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht." 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.[34]


The school was established as a coeducational institution. However, Jane Stanford soon put a policy in place limiting enrollment of women to 500 per year, because of the large number of female students enrolling. She did not want the school to become "the Vassar of the West" because she felt that would not be an appropriate memorial for her son. In 1933 the policy was modified to specify an undergraduate male:female ratio of 3:1.[35] 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. As of 2005 the school no longer maintains a gender preference policy and undergraduate enrollment is split nearly evenly between the sexes, though males outnumber females about 2:1 at the graduate level, exclusive of Humanities.[36][37]

Early finances

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 a temporary closing until finances could be sorted out. However, Jane Stanford insisted that the university remain in operation. Faced with the possibility of financial ruin for the University she took charge of financial, administrative, and development matters at the university 1893–1905; from her experience as a mother and housewife, she ran the institution as a household. For the next several years, she paid salaries out of her personal resources, even pawning her jewelry to keep the university going. When the lawsuit was finally dropped in 1895, a university holiday was declared.[38][39]

Stanford alumnus George E. Crothers became a close adviser to Jane Stanford following his graduation from Stanford's law school in 1896.[40] 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.[41]

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.[42]

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".[43] 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.[43] However, in 1901, she transferred $30 million in assets, nearly all her remaining wealth, to the university;[44] 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).[45]

20th century

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. In 1931, Stanford and Harvard University participated in the first ever intercollegiate radio debate.[46]


From 1906 to 1919, in response to the crisis caused by numerous injuries, intercollegiate football was in jeopardy. While some colleges dropped football entirely, a few, such as the University of California and Stanford University, replaced it with English rugby. From 1906 to 1914, the two schools played rugby as their major sport, but they soon found that the objectionable practices they saw in football were introduced into rugby. Finally, when the football rules were changed, a move developed to return to football, reviving intercollegiate sports and enabling students and alumni to identify with football, an American sport.[47]

Hoover Institution

The Hoover Institution Library and Archives (official name: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace) at Stanford was set up in 1920 by Herbert C. Hoover, one of Stanford's first graduates. He had been in charge of American relief efforts in Europe after World War I before his election as President of the United States in 1928. Hoover's express purpose was to collect the records of contemporary history as it was happening. Hoover's helpers frequently risked their lives to rescue documentary and rare printed material, especially from countries under Nazi or Communist rule. Their many successes included the papers of Rosa Luxemburg, the Goebbels diaries, and the records of the Russian secret police in Paris. Research institutes were also set up under Hoover's influence, though inevitably there were to be clashes between the moving force, Hoover, and the host university. In 1960, W. Glenn Campbell was appointed director and substantial budget increases soon led to corresponding increases in acquisitions and related research projects. Despite student unrest in the 1960s, the institution continued to thrive and develop closer relations with Stanford. In particular, the Chinese and Russian collections grew considerably. From the 1980s forward the Hoover Institution itself evolved into a conservative think tank, functioning independently from the library and archive. It continues as an integral component of the University.[48]



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.[49]

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.[50]

During the 1940s and 1950s, Frederick Terman, as dean of engineering and 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."[51] Terman encouraged William B. Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor, to return to his hometown of Palo Alto. In 1956 he established the Shockley Transistor Laboratory.[52]

The spark that set off the explosive boom of "Silicon startups" in Stanford Industrial Park was a personal dispute in 1957 between employees of Shockley Semiconductor and the company's namesake and founder, Nobel laureate and co-inventor of the transistor William Shockley... (His employees) formed Fairchild Semiconductor immediately following their departure...

After several years, Fairchild gained its footing, becoming a formidable presence in this sector. Its founders began to leave to start companies based on their own, latest ideas and were followed on this path by their own former leading employees... The process gained momentum and what had once began in a Stanford's research park became a veritable startup avalanche... Thus, over the course of just 20 years, a mere eight of Shockley's former employees gave forth 65 new enterprises, which then went on to do the same...[53]


In 1962–70 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.[54] 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.[55]

Government expenses scandal

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, fund raising and other activities unrelated to research, including a yacht and an elaborate wedding ceremony.[56][57] The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Stanford President Donald Kennedy in 1992.[57] 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.[58][59] Additionally, the government reduced Stanford's annual research budget by $23 million in the year following the settlement.[59]

Recent history

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.[60] The funds will go towards 103 new endowed faculty appointments, 360 graduate student research fellowships, scholarships and financial aid, and the construction or renovation of 38 campus buildings. It enabled the construction of the world's largest facility dedicated exclusively to stem cell research, an entirely new campus for the business school, added dramatically to the law school, a brand-new engineering quad, created a new art and art history building, an on-campus concert hall, a new art museum, and a planned expansion of the medical school, among others.[61] In 2012, Stanford opened the Stanford Center at Peking University, a just-under 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2), three-story research center at the heart of Peking University, consistently ranked as the best university in China. The ceremony featured remarks by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Stanford President John Hennessy, and Peking University Party Chief Zhu Shanlu. Stanford became the first U.S. university to have its own building on a major Chinese University campus.[62]

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.[63][64] 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.

In 2011, Stanford created the first PhD program in Stem Cell Science in the United States. The program will be housed at Stanford Medical School.[65]

Undergraduate admission selectivity also increased, with the acceptance rate dropping from 13% for the class of 2004 to 5.69% for the class of 2017.[19] 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.[66][67][68]


Stanford University is located on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[9] 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. The main campus is adjacent to Palo Alto, bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard, and Sand Hill Road. The university also operates at several more remote locations (see below).

Stanford's main campus is a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (including the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.[69] The United States Postal Service has assigned Stanford two ZIP codes: 94305 for campus mail and 94309 for P.O. box mail. It lies within area code 650. The university campus was listed by MSN as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world.[70]

View of Stanford University from across the Oval.

History of campus development

In the summer of 1886, when the campus was first being planned, Stanford brought the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Francis Amasa Walker, and prominent Boston landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted westward for consultations.[71] 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, in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, characterized by rectangular stone buildings linked by arcades of half-circle arches merged with the Californian Mission Revival style desired by the Stanfords.[71] The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887.[71] However by 1889, Leland Stanford severed the connection with Olmsted and Coolidge and their work was continued by others.[71] 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 subsequently erected buildings have maintained consistent exteriors.

Some of this 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 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but the university retains the Quad, part of the Museum, the old Chemistry Building (which is not in use and has been boarded up since 1986 and subsequently damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake),[72] and Encina Hall (then the men's undergraduate dormitory).

After the 1989 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.[73]


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 and Herbert Hoover House are both listed on the National Historic Register.

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. 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.

Non-main campus

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

On the founding grant but away from the main campus:

Off the founding grant:

  • Hopkins Marine Station, located in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
  • Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in locations around the globe; thus, each location, which ranges from Beijing to Cape Town, has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a "mini Stanford."[75]

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.[76]
  • China: the university is currently building a small campus for researchers and students in collaboration with Peking University.[77]

The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California Tiger Salamander. Lake Lagunita is often dry now, but the university has no plans to artificially fill it.[78]

Lake Lagunita in early spring; the Dish is visible in the foothills behind the lake.

In 2011, the university also participated in the bidding for applied science campus in New York City but finally abandoned the project at the end of the year.[79]

Administration and organization

Stanford University is a tax-exempt corporate trust owned and governed by a privately appointed 35-member Board of Trustees.[80] Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[81] A new trustee is chosen by the remaining Trustees by ballot.[26] 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).[80]

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.[82] John L. Hennessy was appointed the 10th President of the University in October 2000.[83] The Provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report.[84] John Etchemendy was named the 12th Provost in September 2000.[85]

The university is organized into seven schools: 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.[84] 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.[86]

The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford University and all registered students are members.[87] 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.[87]

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.[88]

Endowment and fundraising

The university's endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $17.2 billion in 2008 and had achieved an annualized rate of return of 15.1% since 1998.[80][89] 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.[90]

Stanford has been the top fundraising university in the United States for several years. It raised $911 million in 2006,[91] $832 million in 2007,[92] $785 million in 2008,[93] $640 million in 2009,[94] $599 million in 2010,[95] $709 million in 2011,[96] and $1.035 billion in 2012, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.[97]

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.[98] 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.[99] 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.[100]


Stanford University is a large, highly residential research university with a majority of enrollments coming from graduate and professional students.[101] The full-time, four-year undergraduate program is classified as "more selective, lower transfer-in" and has an arts and sciences focus with high graduate student coexistence.[101] Stanford University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[102] Full-time undergraduate tuition was $38,700 for 2010–2011.[103][104]

The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (9 departments), and Earth Sciences (4 departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the schools of Law, Medicine, and Education and the Graduate School of Business have graduate programs only.[105] Stanford follows a quarter system with Autumn quarter usually starting in late September and Spring Quarter ending in early June.

Faculty and staff

Stanford's current community of scholars includes:

Stanford's faculty and former faculty includes 29 Nobel laureates,[4] 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.


As of 2011, 107 Stanford students or alumni have become known Rhodes Scholars.[111]

Research centers and institutes

The Stanford Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research oversees more than eighteen Independent Laboratories, Centers, and Institutes with a wide range of scholarly activities.

Other Stanford-affiliated institutions include the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) 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. 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).[112]

Stanford is home to the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalist and the Center for Ocean Solutions, which brings together marine science and policy to develop solutions to challenges facing the ocean. It also houses the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the ""), a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education.

Libraries and digital resources

Main article: Stanford University Libraries

The Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) hold a collection of nearly 9 million volumes, 260,000 rare or special books, 1.5 million e-books, 1.5 million audiovisual materials, 75,000 serials, 6 million microform holdings, and thousands of other digital resources, making it one of the largest and most diverse academic library systems in the world.[113]

The main library in the SU library system is Green Library, which also contains various meeting and conference rooms, study spaces, and reading rooms. Meyer Library, a 24-hour library slated for demolition in 2015, holds various student-accessible media resources and houses one of the largest East Asia collections, whose 540,000 volumes are being transported to an interim location while a new library is rebuilt.[114]

Reputation and rankings

University rankings

From a 2010 poll done by The Princeton Review, Stanford is the most commonly named "dream college", both for students and for parents, a title it has held in previous years.[115] In the 2012 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings, Stanford was also placed in the top 5 for every discipline in which it was ranked.[116] A 2003 Gallup poll, which asked about the best colleges in the U.S., found that Stanford is the second-most prestigious university (behind Harvard) in the eyes of the general American public and roughly equal in prestige to Harvard among college-educated people.[117]


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. 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 and the Stanford Shakespeare Society, award-winning a cappella music groups such as the Mendicants,[118] Counterpoint,[119] the Stanford Fleet Street Singers,[120] Harmonics, Mixed Company,[121] Testimony, Talisman, Everyday People, Raagapella,[122] and a group dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, the Stanford Savoyards. Beyond these, the music department sponsors many ensembles including five choirs, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Taiko, and the Stanford Wind Ensemble.

Stanford'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 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.[123]

Student life

Student body

Demographics of undergraduate students 2011/2012 and comparison to California and United States Census 2011 estimates[124][125][126]
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] .91% (63) .98% 1% (68) 1.7% 1.2%
Native Hawaiian or other U.S. Pacific Islander .46% (32) .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 .94% (65) 1.02% 1% (61) n/a n/a
International student 7.59% (526) 33% 33% (2893) n/a n/a

Stanford enrolled 7,063 undergraduate[125] and 11,154 graduate students[125] in the 2012–2013 year. Women comprised 48% of undergraduates and 41% of professional and graduate students.[103] The freshman retention rate for 2010 was 98%, the four-year graduation rate is 78.4%, and the six-year rate is 95%.[103] 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.[127]

Stanford awarded 1,715 undergraduate degrees, 2,278 Master's degrees, 764 doctoral degrees, and 366 professional degrees in the 2011–2012 school year.[103] The most popular Bachelor's degrees were in the social sciences, interdisciplinary studies, and engineering.

For the class of 2016, Stanford received 36,631 applications and accepted 2427 or 6.6%, the lowest in the university's history and the second lowest in the country.[128]

The cost of attendance in 2010–2011 is $54,947.[125] 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.[103] In 2010, the university awarded $117 million in financial aid to 3,530 students, with an average aid package of $40,593.[103] Total external and internal aid (including jobs and optional loans) amounted to $172.3 million to undergraduate students.[125] Eighty percent of students are on some form of financial aid.[125] Stanford's no-loan policy waives tuition, room, and board for families with incomes below $60,000, and families with incomes below $100,000 are not required to pay tuition (those with incomes up to $150,000 will have tuition significantly reduced).[103][129] 17% of students receive Pell Grants,[125] a common measure of low-income students at a college. Fifteen percent of the undergraduates are first-generation students.[130]

Dormitories and student housing

Eighty-nine percent of undergraduate students live in on-campus university housing. First-year students are required to live on campus, and all undergraduates are guaranteed housing for all four undergraduate years.[103][131] According to the Stanford Housing Assignments Office, undergraduates live in 80 different houses, including dormitories, co-ops, row houses, fraternities and sororities.[132] At Manzanita Park, 118 mobile homes were installed as "temporary" housing from 1969 to 1991, but it is now the site of modern dorms Castano, Kimball, and Lantana.[133] Most student residences are located just outside the campus core, within ten minutes (on foot or bike) of most classrooms and libraries. Some are for freshmen only; others give priority to sophomores, others to both freshmen and sophomores; some are for upperclass students only, and some are open to all four classes. Most residences are co-ed; seven are all-male fraternities, three are all-female sororities, and there is also one all-female non-sorority house, Roth House. In most residences, men and women live on the same floor, but a few dorms are configured for men and women to live on separate floors (single-gender floors), including all Wilbur dorms except for Arroyo and Okada.[134] Beginning in 2009–10, the University's housing plan anticipates that all freshmen desiring to live in all-freshman dorms will be accommodated. In the 2009–10 year, almost two-thirds of freshmen will be housed in Stern and Wilbur Halls. The one-third who requested four-class housing will be located in other dormitories throughout campus, including Florence Moore (FloMo).[135] In April 2008, Stanford unveiled a new pilot plan to test out gender-neutral housing in five campus residences, allowing males and females to live in the same room. This was after concerted student pressure, as well as the institution of similar policies at peer institutions such as Wesleyan, Oberlin, Clark, Dartmouth, Brown, and UPenn.[136]

Several residences are considered theme houses. The Academic, Language and Culture Houses include EAST (Education And Society Theme), Hammarskjöld (International Theme), Haus Mitteleuropa (Central European Theme), La Casa Italiana (Italian Language and Culture), La Maison Française (French Language and Culture House), Slavianskii Dom (Slavic/East European Theme House), Storey (Human Biology Theme House), and Yost (Spanish Language and Culture).Cross-Cultural Theme Houses include Casa Zapata (Chicano/Latino Theme in Stern Hall), Muwekma-tah-ruk (American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Theme), Okada (Asian-American Theme in Wilbur Hall), and Ujamaa (Black/African-American Theme in Lagunita Court). Focus Houses include Freshman-Sophomore College (Freshman Focus), Branner Hall (Community Service), Kimball (Arts & Performing Arts), Crothers (Global Citizenship), and Toyon (Sophomore Priority).[137] Theme houses predating the current "theme" classification system are Columbae (Social Change Through Nonviolence, since 1970),[138] and Synergy (Exploring Alternatives, since 1972).[139]

Another famous style of housing at Stanford is the co-ops. These houses feature cooperative living, where residents and eating associates each contribute work to keep the house running, such as cooking meals or cleaning shared spaces. The co-ops on campus are Chi Theta Chi, Columbae, Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF), Hammarskjöld (which is also the International Theme House), Kairos, Terra (the unofficial LGBT house),[140] and Synergy.[141]

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


  • Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman: Stanford does not award honorary degrees,[142][143] but in 1953 the University created the degree of Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman for individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. The University's highest honor, the degree is not given at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.[144]
  • 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),[145] The Bearial (in which the Stanford Band performs a funeral-like procession and pierces a stuffed-animal bear on the tip of the Stanford Claw fountain), and an hourly train whistle that counts down the hours until Big Game, orchestrated by the Stanford Axe Committee.
  • Viennese Ball: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program.[146] 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[147] due to a lack of funding from the alumni,[148] 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.[149] 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.[150]
  • The Game: The Game is a treasure hunt put on by dorm staff usually in the spring and summer quarters.

Former campus traditions include the Big Game bonfire on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which is now inactive because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

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.[151] However, following Title IX, the Board of Trustees lifted the 33-year ban on sororities in 1977.[152] 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.[153]

Student groups

Stanford offers its students the opportunity to engage in over 650 groups.[155] 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 located 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.[156] Literary magazines such as the Leland Quarterly[157] 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).[158] to the Stanford Pre-Business Association[159] which is the largest business-focused undergraduate organization. The latter plays an instrumental role in establishing an active link between the industry, alumni, and student communities. Stanford Finance is a pre-professional organization aimed at mentoring students who want to enter a career in finance, through mentors and internships. The 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)[160] 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-profilt startup accelerator for student and faculty-led startups[161] 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.[162]
  • The Stanford solar car project, where 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[163] (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),[164] 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.

Religious life

People at Stanford are of many different religions or none and the university has an Office for Religious Life whose mission is "To guide, nurture and enhance spiritual, religious and ethical life within the Stanford University community" by promoting enriching dialogue, meaningful ritual, and enduring friendships among people of all religious backgrounds. It is headed by a dean with the assistance of a senior associate dean and an associate dean. Stanford Memorial Church, located in the center of campus, has a Sunday University Public Worship service (UPW) usually in the "Protestant Ecumenical Christian" tradition where the Memorial Church Choir sings and a sermon is preached usually by one of the Stanford deans for Religious Life. UPW sometimes has multifaith services.[165] 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 since legal weddings were not permitted.

In addition to the church, the Office for Religious Life has a Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning and Experiences (CIRCLE) located on the third floor of Old Union. It offers a common room, an interfaith sanctuary, a seminar room, a student lounge area and a reading room, as well as offices housing a number of Stanford Associated Religions (SAR) member groups and the Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Religious Life. Most though not all religious student groups belong to SAR. The SAR directory includes organizations that serve: atheist, Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jewish, and Sikh though the groups vary year by year.[166]

Some religions have a larger and more formal presence on campus in addition to the student groups; these include the Catholic Community at Stanford[167] and Hillel at Stanford.[168]


Main article: Stanford Cardinal

Stanford participates in the NCAA's Division I FBS and is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference. It also participates in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for indoor track (men and women), fencing (men and women), water polo (men and women), men's gymnastics, women's lacrosse, and men's volleyball. The women's field hockey team is part of the NorPac Conference.[169] Stanford's traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, its neighbor to the north in the East Bay.

Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year[170] and has earned 104 NCAA national team titles[171] since its establishment, second most behind the University of California, Los Angeles, and 467 individual National championships, the most by any university.[172] Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked collegiate athletic program—the NACDA Director's Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—every year for the past seventeen years.

Stanford offers 36 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. 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 thousand 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.[173] Stanford won back-to-back Rose Bowls in 1971 and 1972. Stanford has played in 13 Rose Bowls, most recently in 2013. Stanford's Jim Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy in 1970.

Club sports are active at Stanford. Among the 24 university supported club sport teams and 7 student supported club sports as of 2012 are archery, badminton, cheerleading, cycling, equestrian, ice hockey, judo, kayaking, lacrosse, polo, rugby union, squash (men only), skiing, taekwondo, table tennis, triathlon and Ultimate.[174] The men's Ultimate team won national championships in 1984 and 2002,[175] the women's Ultimate team in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007,[176] 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. Stanford also has an active intramural sports program and many recreational athletic facilities and organizations including the Stanford Martial Arts Program (SMAP), an umbrella organization for 11 different martial arts groups on campus: Aikido, Capoeira, Eskrima, Judo, Jujitsu, Kenpo Karate, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, JKA Shotokan, Taekwondo, and Wushu.

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.

The Stanford sports teams are now officially referred to as the Stanford Cardinal, referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is unusual in that it has only had one official color, Cardinal red, not two colors like most colleges.[177] Since the 19th century. The Band's mascot, "The Tree", has become associated with the school in general. Part of the Leland Stanford Junior 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, in which the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins by a score of 38–16, and several group stage matches in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

According to the Stanford Daily, "Stanford has been represented in every summer Olympiad since 1908."[178] 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."[179] Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Games—12 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze.[180]

Notable people

Notable faculty

As of late 2012, Stanford has 1,995 tenure-line faculty, senior fellows, center fellows, and medical center faculty.[181]

Government and politics

Professors who have served in government include Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Lt. General Karl Eikenberry, current US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Edward Lazear and Former director of policy planning for the US State Dept. Stephen D. Krasner. George Schultz, Former Secretary of State, Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury, is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and lectures at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Former President of Peru Alejandro Toledo was a distinguished lecturer from 2007–2009.[182] Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of Los Alamos National Laboratory, makes frequent visits to North Korea to inspect their nuclear weapons facilities, and co-teaches a class on national security with William Perry. Tenzin Tethong, former prime minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, chairs the university's Tibetan Studies Initiative, and was a candidate for Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile.[183] Former US President Benjamin Harrison was a founding professor at Stanford Law School.

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

Humanities and social sciences

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

In 2012, it was announced that Alexander Nemerov, prominent art historian and chair of the History of Art Department at Yale University, would join the Stanford faculty as part of the University's efforts to increase its presence in the arts.[184]

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

Notable alumni

On Stanford campus, visit the Coffee House (frequently referred to as CoHo), for a quick glance at recent notable alumni. There are characters and names painted on the wall.

Stanford alumni have started many companies and, according to Forbes, has produced the second highest number of billionaires of all universities, behind Harvard.[185][186][187] Companies founded by Stanford alumni include Hewlett-Packard (William Hewlett and David Packard), Cisco Systems (Sandra Lerner and Leonard Bosack), Nvidia (Jen-Hsun Huang), SGI, VMware, MIPS Technologies, Yahoo! (Chih-Yuan Yang and David Filo), Google (Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page), Wipro Technologies (Azim Premji), Nike (Phil Knight), Gap (Doris F. Fisher), Palantir Technologies (Joe Lonsdale and Stephen Cohen), PayPal (Peter Thiel and Elon Musk), Logitech, Instagram, Snapchat, and Sun Microsystems (Vinod Khosla). The Sun in Sun Microsystems originally stood for "Stanford University Network."[188][189][190] Other companies and organizations founded or co-founded by Stanford alumni include the Special Olympics, Tesla Motors (Elon Musk), LinkedIn (Reid Hoffman), Netflix (Reed Hastings), Yammer (David O. Sacks), Varian Associates, Pandora Radio, Electronic Arts, Trader Joe's, Dolby Laboratories, Capital One, Renren (the Chinese version of Facebook), TechCrunch, IDEO,, Acumen Fund, Victoria's Secret, Firefox,, and Participant Media.

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

Stanford-educated executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Yahoo CEO and president Marissa Mayer, eBay president Jeffrey Skoll, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito, CEMEX chairman and CEO Lorenzo Zambrano, Bank of America Merrill Lynch COO Thomas Montag, Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat, Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani, and Godrej Industries managing director Nadir Godrej.

Former Japanese Prime Ministers Yukio Hatoyama and Taro Aso,[191] former U.S. President Herbert Hoover, former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, former President of Guatemala Jorge Serrano Elias, current President of the Maldives Mohammed Waheed Hassan, former Vice President of Iran Mohammad-Reza Aref, former Honduras President Ricardo Maduro, King Philippe of Belgium, former United States Senate president pro tempore Carl Hayden, former Arizona governor, supreme court chief justice, and United States Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland, and the current U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker are alumni. U.S. President John F. Kennedy attended Stanford without graduating, as did the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. Former Ghanaian President John Atta Mills earned his J.D. as a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford Law School.[192] U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer and former Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist are also alumni. Other alumni in politics include UN Ambassador Susan Rice, former Secretary of Defense and current Stanford professor William Perry, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Former US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual, Eileen Donahoe, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council, William Kennard, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Michael McFaul, US Ambassador to Russia, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and current US Senators Dianne Feinstein, Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Representatives Xavier Becerra, Judy Biggert, Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, Jim Sensenbrenner, and David Wu. Chelsea Clinton attended Stanford while her father was President, and met her future husband while attending.[193][194]

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

NBA guard Landry Fields, NBA centers Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez, NFL quarterbacks Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett, Trent Edwards, John Elway and Andrew Luck, NFL receivers Gordon Banks, Ed McCaffrey and Doug Baldwin, NFL Fullback Jon Ritchie, runner Ryan Hall, MLB starting pitcher Mike Mussina, MLB outfielders Sam Fuld and Carlos Quentin, MLB infielder Jed Lowrie, MLB catcher Bruce Robinson, Grand Slam winning tennis players John McEnroe (did not graduate) (singles and doubles) and (doubles) Bob and Mike Bryan, professional golfers Michelle Wie, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods (did not graduate), former New Zealand Football and Queens Park Rangers Defender Ryan Nelsen, Olympic swimmers Jenny Thompson, Summer Sanders and Pablo Morales, Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas, Olympic gymnast Amy Chow, Olympic and World Cup soccer players Julie Foudy, Sarah Rafanelli, Kelley O'Hara, Christen Press, Nicole Barnhart, and Rachel Buehler, Olympic water polo players Tony Azevedo and Brenda Villa, Olympic softball player Jessica Mendoza, Olympic volleyball player Kerri Walsh, Olympic volleyball player Logan Tom, and Heisman finalist Toby Gerhart are alumni.

In the field of entertainment, Jennifer Connelly, Sigourney Weaver, Ted Koppel, Ben Savage, Tablo and Rachel Maddow are prominent graduates. Other alumni include Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents films and Game Change, among others. Alexander Payne wrote and directed such films as Sideways, The Descendants, and About Schmidt. David Chase, a seven-time Emmy Award winner, is best known as the creator and writer of The Sopranos.[195]

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

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

At least nine Stanford alumni have won the Nobel Prize.[196][197]

See also



Further reading

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

External links

  • Official athletics website

Coordinates: 37°26′N 122°10′W / 37.43°N 122.17°W / 37.43; -122.17

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