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Stanford University

Leland Stanford Junior University, or more commonly Stanford University, is a private research university in Stanford, California, and one of the world's most prestigious institutions, with the highest undergraduate selectivity and the top position in numerous surveys and measures in the United States.

Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland Stanford, Governor of California, former governor of and U.S. senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Stanford (Lathrop), in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford was opened on October 1, 1891 as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Tuition was free until 1920. The university struggled financially after Leland 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 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).

Stanford is located in northern Silicon Valley near Palo Alto, California. The University's academic departments are organized into seven schools, with several other holdings, such as laboratories and nature reserves, located outside the main campus. Its 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[26] campus is one of the largest in the United States. 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.

Stanford's undergraduate program is the most selective in the country with an acceptance rate of 5.07% for the 2018 Class. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the University is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pacific-12 Conference. It has gained 105 NCAA team championships, the second-most for a university, 465 individual championships, the most in Division I, and has won the NACDA Directors' Cup, recognizing the university with the best overall athletic team achievement, every year since 1994-1995.

Stanford faculty and alumni have founded many 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. Fifty-nine Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the University, and it is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and 17 astronauts. Stanford has produced a total of 18 Turing Award laureates, the highest in the world for any one institution.[citation needed] It is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.

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." 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 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 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 $131 million today,

The university's Founding Grant of Endowment from the Stanfords was issued in November 1885. 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. 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.[39][40] 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).

Notable alumni