Vintage Stanford University postcard

The Leland Stanford Junior University, in Stanford, California, is a private university, and one of the most prestigious in the United States. It is located approximately 35 miles south-east of San Francisco in the city of Palo Alto, California.

Stanford was founded by railroad magnate and California Governor Leland Stanford along with his wife, Jane Stanford, who created the University, and named it, in honor of their deceased teenage son. The University's founding grant was written on November 11, 1885 and accepted by the first Board of Trustees on November 14. The University officially opened on October 1, 1891.

Stanford built its reputation as a pioneering Silicon Valley institution with top programs in engineering and the sciences. It has since expanded a premier humanities program to rival that of any U.S. college. It has a reputation among students of a relaxed, fun-loving, warm-weather alternative to the Ivy League schools.

Stanford University owns over 8,000 acres, making it one of the largest university complexes in the world. The main area in which the University operates is bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard and Sand Hill Road, in the heart of the San Francisco Peninsula. Besides the university, the Stanford trustees oversee Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, Stanford University Medical Center and many associated medical facilities, including the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, as well as many acres of undeveloped foothills.

Campus landmarks include Memorial Church, Hoover Tower, the Rodin sculpture garden, Green Library and the Dish, not to mention to the Stanford Quad, part of the campus plan contributed by legendary architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Much of the original construction was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but the University still has much of the original campus architecture, including the Quad, the old Chemistry Building and Encina Hall (reportedly the residence of John Steinbeck during his time at Stanford). After the 1989 Loma Prieta 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.

The University has approximately 6,500 undergraduates. The graduate schools include Stanford Law School, Medical School, Graduate School of Business, School of Earth Sciences and School of Education. The Schools of Humanities & Sciences and Engineering have both graduate and undergraduate programs. Other institutions related to the University include the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and the Stanford Research Institute. The Stanford University Libraries (SUL) have a collection of more than 8 million volumes.

The University's first president was David Starr Jordan. John Hennessy is the current University president.

Campus traditions include Full Moon on the Quad, the Halloween party at the Stanford family mausoleum, Flicks, steam-tunnelling, Primal Scream and Viennese Ball.

Stanford has played an important role in the development of Silicon Valley, birth companies like Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo and Google. Indeed, "Sun" originally stood for 'Stanford University Network'.

The official motto of Stanford University, "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" when loosely translated from the German means "Let the winds of freedom blow."

Stanford Athletics

Stanford participates in the NCAA's Division I-A and forms part of the Pac-10 athletic conference. It also has membership in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for indoor track (men and women), water polo (men and women), women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse, men's gymnastics, and men's volleyball. Stanford's traditional sports rival is Cal. The winner of the annual football "Big Game" between Cal and Stanford gains custody of the Axe. Formerly the Stanford Indians, that mascot came to be adjudged politically incorrect in the late 1970s. The Stanford sports teams are now officially the Stanford Cardinal (the color, not the bird), but the unofficial school mascot is "The Tree." Part of Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB), the tree symbol derives from the El Palo Alto pine tree on the Stanford and City of Palo Alto seals.

Stanford has won the Sears Cup the past nine years, honoring the number one ranked collegiate athletic program.

''Stanford University, front view of Quad

Notable Stanford Alumni

View of Stanford University from the foothills

Stanford Alumni Athletes

Sports stars who attended Stanford include:

External links