Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences

About Stanford

Stanford University is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, less than an hour's drive southeast of San Francisco. Its 8,180-acre campus stretches from Santa Clara Valley into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, beyond which lies the Pacific Ocean. The University is on the site of the Palo Alto Stock Farm, a ranch operated by the Stanfords in the late 19th century. "The Farm," as it is still affectionately known, at one time had extensive fields, orchards and vineyards.

Stanford was founded by Leland and Jane Stanford in 1885 as a memorial to their only child, Leland Jr., who died of typhoid fever in 1884 at the age of fifteen. One of California's most prominent citizens, Leland Stanford was President of the Central Pacific Railroad and drove the golden spike at Promontory, Utah, completing the first transcontinental railroad. He served as Governor of California during the Civil War and was a United States Senator at the time of his death in 1893.

Aerial viewThe general plan for the University was the product of a unique collaboration between Jane and Leland Stanford and Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park. The heart of the University is the Inner Quadrangle - twelve original classroom buildings joined by arcades with Memorial Church and the surrounding Outer Quadrangle. The architecture is a mixture of Romanesque and Mission Revival styles. The sandstone buildings, roofed with red clay tiles, are connected by arches and long arcades.

From its not so humble beginings, Stanford has grown into a university of international renown. It gave birth to "Silicon Valley" or at least firms like Hewlett-Packard, CISCO, Sun Microsystems. Silicon Graphics and Yahoo just to name a few, supports world class athletics, and, its programs in engineering, medicine, business, law are considered among the best in the world. The University also maintains:

The Stanfords decreed that the land could never be sold, although they envisioned that part of it should be used to produce income for the academic program. About 1,000 acres are under lease for light industrial, commercial and other income-producing uses.

Yet, Stanford maintains closest connection with the computer industry.  

Note: See the Stanford University home page on the World Wide Web for more information and pictures.

Memorial ChurchOrigins

On October 1, 1891, nearly 500 enthusiastic young men and women were on hand for opening day ceremonies at Leland Stanford Junior University. They came from all over: many from California, some who followed professors hired from other colleges and universities, and some simply seeking adventure in the West. They came to seize a special opportunity, to be part of the pioneer class in a brand new university. They stayed to help turn an ambitious dream into a thriving reality. As a pioneer faculty member recalled, "Hope was in every heart, and the presiding spirit of freedom prompted us to dare greatly."

For Leland and Jane Stanford on that day, the University was the realization of a dream and a fitting tribute to the memory of their only son, who had died of typhoid fever weeks before his 16th birthday, at an age when many young men and women were planning their college educations.

From the beginning, it was clear that Stanford would be different. It was coeducational at a time when single-sex colleges were the norm. It was nonsectarian when most private colleges were still affiliated with a church. And it offered a broad, flexible program of study while most schools insisted on a rigid curriculum of classical studies. Though there were many difficulties during the first months (housing was inadequate, microscopes and books were late in arriving from the East) the first year foretold greatness. As Jane Stanford wrote in the summer of 1892, "Even our fondest hopes have been realized." What manner of people were this man and this woman who had the intelligence, the means, the faith, and the daring to plan a major university in Pacific soil, far from the nation's center of culture?


About Leland Stanford

Although he was educated as a lawyer, Leland Stanford, together with Jane, came to California in 1852 to join his five brothers in their mercantile business in the gold fields. They established large-scale operations in Sacramento, where Mr. Stanford became a leading figure in California business and politics. One of the "Big Four" who built the western link of the first transcontinental railroad, he was elected Governor of California and later United States Senator. One of the founders of the Republican Party in California, he was an ardent follower of Abraham Lincoln and is credited with keeping California in the Union during the Civil War.

Despite the enormous success they achieved in their lives, Governor and Mrs. Stanford had come from families of modest means and had built their way up through a life of hard work. So it was natural that their first thoughts were to establish an institution where young men and women could "grapple successfully with the practicalities of life." As their thoughts matured, however, these ideas of "practical education" enlarged to the concept of producing cultured and useful citizens who were well prepared for professional success. In a statement of the case for liberal education that was remarkable for its time, Leland Stanford wrote, "I attach great importance to general literature for the enlargement of the mind and for giving business capacity. I think I have noticed that technically educated boys do not make the most successful businessmen. The imagination needs to be cultivated and developed to assure success in life. A man will never construct anything he cannot conceive."


Stanford Lands and Architecture

Cantor CenterThe campus occupies what was once Leland Stanford's Palo Alto farm and the favorite residence of the Stanford family. The Stanfords purchased an existing estate in 1876 and later acquired much of the land in the local watershed for their stock farm, orchards, and vineyards. The name of the farm came from the tree El Palo Alto, a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) that still stands near the northwest corner of the property on the edge of San Francisquito Creek. Many years ago, one of the winter floods that periodically rushed down the arroyo tore off one of its twin trunks, but half of the venerable old tree lives on, a gaunt and time-scarred monument. Named in 1700 by Spanish explorers, El Palo Alto has been the University's symbol and the centerpiece of its official seal.

The Stanfords gave their farm to the University in the Founding Grant of 1885. They personally financed the entire cost of the construction and operation of the University until 1903, when surviving founder Jane Stanford turned over control to the Board of Trustees. The founding gift was in excess of $21 million, not including the land and buildings.

The general concept for the University grounds and buildings was conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York. A brilliant young Boston architect, Charles Allerton Coolidge, further developed the concept in the style of his late mentor, Henry Hobson Richardson. The style, called Richardsonian Romanesque, is a blend of Romanesque and Mission Revival architecture. It is characterized by rectilinear sandstone buildings joined by covered arcades formed of successive half-circle arches, the latter supported by short columns with decorated capitals.

More than one hundred years later, the University still enjoys the original 8,180 acres (almost 13 square miles) of grassy fields, eucalyptus groves, and rolling hills that were the Stanfords' generous legacy, as well as the Quadrangle of "long corridors with their stately pillars" at the center of campus. It is still true, as the philosopher William James said, during his stint as a visiting professor, that the climate is "so friendly . . . that every morning wakes one fresh for new amounts of work."


Current Perspectives

In other ways, the University has changed tremendously on its way to recognition as one of the world's great universities. At the hub of a vital and diverse Bay Area, Stanford is an hour's drive south of San Francisco and just a few miles north of the Silicon Valley, an area dotted with computer and high technology firms largely spawned by the University's faculty and graduates. On campus, students and faculty enjoy new libraries, modern laboratories, sports facilities, and comfortable residences.

Contemporary sculpture, as well as pieces from the Stanford Museum's extensive collection of sculpture by Auguste Rodin, is placed throughout the campus, providing unexpected pleasures at many turns. The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University opened in January 1999. The center includes the historic museum building, the Rodin Sculpture Garden and a new wing with spacious galleries, auditorium, cafe, and bookshop.

At the Stanford Medical Center, worldrenowned for its research, teaching, and patient care, scientists and physicians are searching for answers to fundamental questions about health and disease. Ninety miles down the coast, at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station on the Monterey Bay, scientists are working to better understand the mechanisms of evolution, human development, and ecological systems. The University is organized into seven schools: Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, the Graduate School of Business, Humanities and Sciences, Law, and Medicine. In addition, there are more than 30 interdisciplinary centers, programs, and research laboratories (including the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; the Institute for International Studies; the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; and the Stanford Center for the Study of Families, Children, and Youth) where faculty from a wide range of fields bring different perspectives to bear on issues and problems. Stanford's Overseas Studies Program offers students in all fields remarkable opportunities for study abroad, with campuses in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, Kyoto, Oxford, Paris, Puebla, Rome, and Santiago.


Stanford People

By any measure, Stanford's faculty, which number approximately 1,595, is one of the most distinguished in the nation. It includes 12 Nobel laureates, 4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 18 National Medal of Science winners, 122 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 210 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 78 members of the National Academy of Engineering, and 24 members of the National Academy of Education. Yet beyond their array of honors, what truly distinguishes Stanford faculty is their commitment to sharing knowledge with their students. The great majority of professors teach undergraduates both in introductory lecture classes and in small advanced seminars.

Enrollment in Autumn Quarter 1999 totaled 14,219, of whom 6,594 were undergraduates and 7,625 were graduate students. Like the faculty, the Stanford student body is distinguished. Approximately eight students apply to Stanford for every place in the freshman class. Seventy-one Stanford students have been named Rhodes Scholars and 39 have been named Marshall Scholars. In 1999, the completion or graduation rate for students who entered Stanford University fulltime in 1993 was 91 percent. Stanford awarded 4,596 degrees in 1999, of which 1,687 were baccalaureate and 2,909 were advanced degrees.

Stanford students also shine in a tremendous array of activities outside the classroom from student government to music, theater, and journalism. Through the Haas Center for Public Service, students participate in dozens of community service activities, such as tutoring programs for children in nearby East Palo Alto, the Hunger Project, and the Arbor Free Clinic.

In the athletic arena, Stanford students have enjoyed tremendous success as well. Stanford fields teams in 33 Division I varsity sports. Of Stanford's 78 NCAA team titles, 35 have been captured in the past ten years, placing Stanford at the top among the nation's most title-winning schools of the '90s. In 19992000, Stanford won two NCAA team titles in men's tennis and men's track and field and won the Sears Director's Cup, emblematic of the top overall athletic program in the country, for the sixth consecutive season. Six teams placed second in the nation last year (baseball, women's volleyball, men's water polo, synchronized swimming, women's tennis, and women's golf) and Stanford became the first school in Pac10 history to win conference championships in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same year. Athletic success has reached beyond The Farm, as well, with 49 Stanford athletes and coaches taking part in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Intramural and club sports are also popular; over 1,000 students take part in the club sports program, while participation in the intramural program has reached 9,000 with many active in more than one sport.

Stanford graduates can be found in an extraordinary variety of places: in space (Sally Ride, '73, Ph.D. '78, was the first American woman in space); on the news (Ted Koppel, A.M. '62, created the successful program Nightline); off-Broadway (David Henry Hwang, '79, received a Tony Award for his celebrated work, M. Butterfly); at the helm of major corporations (Bill Hewlett and David Packard, both '34, Engr. '39, started their multibillion dollar company, Hewlett-Packard, in a nearby garage, and, more recently, Scott McNealy, '80, founded Sun Microsystems, and Chihyuan (Jerry) Yang, '94, and David Filo, '90, founded Yahoo); and on the U.S. Supreme Court (four Stanford graduates, Sandra Day O'Connor, '50, J.D. '53; Anthony Kennedy, '58; William Rehnquist, '48, J.D. '52; and Stephen Breyer, '59, currently sit on the high court).

In her address to the Board of Trustees, in 1904, Jane Stanford said, "Let us not be afraid to outgrow old thoughts and ways, and dare to think on new lines as to the future of the work under our care." Her thoughts echo in the words of former Stanford President Gerhard Casper, who has said, "The true University must reinvent itself every day. . . . At Stanford, these are days of such reconsideration and fresh support for our fundamental tasks: teaching, learning, and research."


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