Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stanford University


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"Stanford" redirects here. For other uses, see Stanford (disambiguation).
Stanford University
Leland Stanford Junior University
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][3]
Type Private
Endowment $18.7 billion (2013)[4]
President John L. Hennessy
Provost John Etchemendy
Academic staff 2,043[5]
Admin. staff 11,128[6] excluding SHC
Students 15,877
Undergraduates 6,980[7]
Postgraduates 8,897[7]
Location Stanford, California, U.S.
Campus Suburban, 8,180 acres (3,310 ha)[note 1][7]
Newspaper The Stanford Daily
Colors Cardinal and white         
Athletics NCAA Division I (FBS) Pac-12
Nickname Cardinal
Mascot Stanford Tree (unofficial)
Leland Stanford Junior University, or more commonly Stanford University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.[10][11][12][13][14]
The university was founded in 1885 by Leland Stanford, former governor of and U.S. senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford was opened on October 1, 1891[2][3] as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Tuition was free until the 1930s.[15] The university struggled financially after Leland Stanford's 1893 death and after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[16] 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).[17]
The University is located in northern Silicon Valley near Palo Alto. Its 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[18] campus is one of the largest college campuses in the United States.[8] Several other holdings, such as laboratories and nature reserves, are located outside the main campus.[7][18] Its academic departments are organized into seven Schools with a student body of approximately 7,000 undergraduates and 8,900 graduates. Stanford has been the top fundraising university in the United States for several years, being the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year in 2012.[19]
Stanford 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 championships, the second-most for a university, and has won the NACDA Directors' Cup every year since 1994-1995.[20]
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.[21] Fifty-eight Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university,[22] and it is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, and 18 Turing Award laureates. It is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.[23][24]


Origins and early years (1885–1906)

The university officially opened on October 1, 1891 to 555 students. On the university's opening day, Founding President David Starr Jordan (1851–1931) said to Stanford's Pioneer Class: "[Stanford] is hallowed by no traditions; it is hampered by none. Its finger posts all point forward."[25] 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."[2] The Stanfords visited Harvard's president, Charles Eliot, and asked whether he should establish a university, technical school or museum. Eliot replied that he should found a university and an endowment of $5 million would suffice (in 1884 dollars; about $131 million today[26]).[27]
Leland Stanford, the university's founder, as painted by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier in 1881 and now on display at the Cantor Center
The university's Founding Grant of Endowment from the Stanfords was issued in November 1885.[28] 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.[29] 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 2005 the undergraduate enrollment is split nearly evenly between the sexes, though males outnumber females about 1.6:1 at the graduate level.[30][31] In the same petition they also removed the prohibition of sectarian worship on campus (previous only non-denominational Christian worship in Stanford Memorial Church was permitted).

Physical layout

The Stanfords chose their country estate, Palo Alto Stock Farm, in northern Santa Clara County as the site of the university, so that the University is often called "the Farm" to this day.[note 2]
The original "inner quad" buildings (1887–91) were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Francis A. Walker, Charles Allerton Coolidge, and Leland Stanford himself. The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887 which would have been Leland Stanford Junior's nineteenth birthday.[2][33][34] 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.[33] 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.[33] However by 1889, Leland Stanford severed the connection with Olmsted and Coolidge and their work was continued by others.[33] 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.

Early faculty and administration

In Spring 1891, the Stanfords offered the presidency of their new university to the president of Cornell University, Andrew White, but he declined and recommended David Starr Jordan, the 40-year-old president of Indiana University Bloomington. Jordan's educational philosophy was a good fit with the Stanfords' vision of a non-sectarian, co-educational school with a liberal arts curriculum, and he accepted the offer.[35] 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.[36] 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".[37]
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.[38]

Early finances

Statue of the Stanford family, by Larkin G. Mead (1899)
When Leland Stanford died in 1893, the continued existence of the university was in jeopardy. A $15 million government lawsuit against Stanford's estate, combined with the Panic of 1893, made it extremely difficult to meet expenses. Most of the Board of Trustees advised that the University be closed temporarily until finances could be sorted out. However, Jane Stanford insisted that the university remain in operation. When the lawsuit was finally dropped in 1895, a university holiday was declared.[39][40] Stanford alumnus George E. Crothers became a close adviser to Jane Stanford following his graduation from Stanford's law school in 1896.[41] 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.[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, overall, Jane Stanford contributed significantly to the university. Faced with the possibility of financial ruin for the institution, she took charge of financial, administrative, and development matters at the university 1893–1905. For the next several years, she paid salaries out of her personal resources, even pawning her jewelry to keep the university going. In 1901, she transferred $30 million in assets, nearly all her remaining wealth, to the university;[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]

Post-founders (1906–1941)

The ruins of the unfinished Stanford Library after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake
The year after Jane Stanford's death, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake damaged parts of the campus and caused new financial and structural problems, though only two people on campus were killed. Some of the early construction, especially from the second phase between Leland Stanford's death in 1893 and Jane Stanford's death in 1905, was destroyed by the earthquake. The university retains the Quad, part of the Museum, the old Chemistry Building (which is not in use, has been boarded up since 1986, and was subsequently damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake),[46][47] and Encina Hall (then the men's undergraduate dormitory). The earthquake destroyed parts of the Main Quad, including the original iteration of Memorial Church and the gate that first marked the entrance of the school, as well as a partially built main library. Rebuilding on a somewhat less grandiose scale began immediately.
Jordan, the first president, stepped down in 1913 and was succeeded for two years by John Casper Branner. Branner was followed by Ray Lyman Wilbur, who was president from 1916 until 1943, except when he took leave to serve as Secretary of the Interior under President Herbert Hoover. Hoover along with his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, were among the first graduates of Stanford. Herbert Hoover was also a trustee of the university. The house they had built on campus as their own residence, Lou Henry Hoover House, became the University president's house after the death of Lou Henry Hoover in 1944.

World War II and late 20th century

After Ray Lyman Wilbur retired in 1943 in the midst of World War II, Donald Tresidder, president of the Board of Trustees, took over as president until his unexpected death in early 1948. In 1949 Wallace Sterling became president (1949-1968) and he oversaw the rise of Stanford as a regional university to one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. He was succeeded by Kenneth Pitzer from Rice University who lasted only 19 months having stepped in just as the university entered its most tumultuous period of student protests. Richard Lyman, former provost, was president from 1971 until 1980; Donald Kennedy also a former provost was president from 1980 until 1992 when he resigned during the midst of a controversy over finances with the U.S. Government. The Board of Trustees brought in an outsider, Gerhard Casper, from the University of Chicago who was president until 2000.

High tech

A powerful sense of regional solidarity accompanied the rise of Silicon Valley. From the 1890s, the university's leaders saw its mission as service to the West and shaped the school accordingly. At the same time, the perceived exploitation of the West at the hands of eastern interests fueled booster-like attempts to build self-sufficient indigenous local industry. Thus, regionalism helped align Stanford's interests with those of the area's high-tech firms for the first fifty years of Silicon Valley's development. The distinctive regional ethos of the West during the first half of the 20th century is an ingredient of Silicon Valley's already prepared environment, an ingredient that would-be replicators ignore at their peril.[48]
During the 1940s and 1950s, Frederick Terman, as dean of engineering and later as provost, encouraged faculty and graduates to start their own companies. He is credited with nurturing Hewlett-Packard, Varian Associates, and other high-tech firms, until what would become Silicon Valley grew up around the Stanford campus. Terman is often called "the father of Silicon Valley."[49] 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.[50]
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...[51]


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.[52]


In 1962 through 1970, negotiations took place between the Cambridge Electron Accelerator Laboratory (shared by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and the US Atomic Energy Commission over the proposed 1970 construction of the Stanford Positron Electron Asymmetric Ring (SPEAR). It would be the first US electron-positron colliding beam storage ring. Paris (2001) explores the competition and cooperation between the two university laboratories and presents diagrams of the proposed facilities, charts detailing location factors, and the parameters of different project proposals between 1967 and 1970. Several rings were built in Europe during the five years that it took to obtain funding for the project, but the extensive project revisions resulted in a superior design that was quickly constructed and paved the way for Nobel Prizes in 1976 for Burton Richter and in 1995 for Martin Perl.[53] 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.[54]

Civil rights

Though Stanford has never officially prohibited the admission of black students, people of Asian descent, or Native Americans, it did not treat them equally with those considered as White. Discrimination also existed against non-Christians. (The first Black graduate was Ernest Houston Johnson in 1895 who received a degree in economics.)[55]
In 1957 the Board of Trustees adopted a policy stating:
"The University is opposed to discriminatory racial and religious clauses and practices. Insofar as such clauses or practices presently exist, the University will work actively with student groups to eliminate them at the earliest possible date"[56]
Though this was relatively easy for the housing the university directly controlled, it had to work with the fraternities which invite their own membership (no sororities existed on campus at this time). In 1960, the Alpha Tau Omega chapter had its national charter revoked after refusing to retract the pledging of four Jewish students.[57] And in 1962 Sigma Nu (Beta Chi chapter) seceded from the national organization over the national organization's continuing refusal to drop bans on "Negros and Orientals".[57][58][note 3] As of late 1962 only the Kappa Alpha fraternity still officially discriminated due the national organization's rules.[57] However in April 1965 the local Sigma Chi chapter pledged Kenneth M. Washington and was suspended allegedly for violating rules on rituals.[60][61] Though Sigma Chi officially had removed its no whites policy in 1961 it had then instituted requirements that all members had to be approved by a national committee and that pledges be socially acceptable to other members anywhere.[61] President Sterling then sent a letter to the presidents of all universities with Sigma Chi chapters supporting the local chapter and pointing out that University recognition of racially discriminatory groups could violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The suspension continued until Kenneth Washington's poor grades required him to resign anyway from the chapter. In November 1966 the Stanford chapter unanimously severed ties with the national fraternity.[62][note 4]
The university started actively recruiting minorities in the 1960s. The minorities started organizing and "in five years, students founded the six major community organizations: the Black Student Union (BSU) in 1967, the Asian American Students’ Association (AASA) and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) in 1969, the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) in 1970, the Gay People’s Union in 1971 and the Women’s Collective in 1972."[64]

Government expenses controversy

In the early 1990s, Stanford was investigated by the U.S. government over allegations that the university had inappropriately billed the government several million dollars for housing, personal expenses, travel, entertainment, fundraising and other activities unrelated to research, including a yacht and an elaborate wedding ceremony.[65][66] The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Stanford President Donald Kennedy in 1992.[66] 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.[67][68] Additionally, the government reduced Stanford's annual research budget by $23 million in the year following the settlement.[68]

21st century

The James H. Clark Center at Stanford University
Since 2000, Stanford has expanded dramatically. In February 2012, Stanford announced the conclusion of the Stanford Challenge. In a period of five years, Stanford raised $6.2 billion, exceeding its initial goal by $2 billion, making it the most successful university fundraising campaign in history.[69] 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.[70] In 2012, Stanford opened the Stanford Center at Peking University, a just-under 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2), three-story research center in the Peking University campus. The ceremony featured remarks by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and Stanford President John Hennessy. Stanford became the first American university to have its own building on a major Chinese university campus.[71]
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.[72][73] 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.[74]
In 2011, Stanford created the first PhD program in stem cell science in the United States. The program is housed at Stanford Medical School.[75]
Undergraduate admission selectivity also increased, with the acceptance rate dropping from 13% for the class of 2004 to 5.07% for the class of 2018.[76] 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.[77][78][79]


Main campus

An aerial photograph of the Stanford University campus in 2008. Note the red roofs and sandstone colored exteriors of many of the buildings.
Stanford University is located on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha)[18] 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. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.[80] 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.[81] 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 Travel + Leisure in September 2011 as one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States[82] and by MSN as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world.[83]
View of the main quadrangle of Stanford University with Memorial Church in the center background from across the grass covered Oval.

Other campuses

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."[86]
  • China: Stanford Center at Peking University housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Peking University.[87][88]
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.[89][90]
Lake Lagunita in early spring; the Dish, a large radio telescope and local landmark, is visible in the Stanford owned foothills behind the lake and is the high point of a popular campus jogging and walking trail.

Faculty residences

One of the benefits of being a Stanford faculty member is the "Faculty Ghetto", where faculty members can live within walking or biking distance of campus.[91] The Faculty Ghetto is composed of land owned entirely by Stanford. Similar to a condominium, the houses can be bought and sold but the land under the houses is rented on a 99-year lease. Houses in the "Ghetto" appreciate and depreciate, but not as rapidly as overall Silicon Valley values. However, it remains an expensive area in which to own property, and the average price of single-family homes on campus is actually higher than in Palo Alto. Stanford itself enjoys the rapid capital gains of Silicon Valley landowners, although by the terms of its founding the university cannot sell the land.


Contemporary campus landmarks include the Main Quad and Memorial Church, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts and art gallery, the Stanford Mausoleum and the Angel of Grief, Hoover Tower, the Rodin sculpture garden, the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, the Arizona Cactus Garden, the Stanford University Arboretum, Green Library and the Dish. Frank Lloyd Wright's 1937 Hanna–Honeycomb House and the 1919 Lou Henry Hoover House are both listed on the National Historic Register.

Administration and organization

Stanford University is a tax-exempt corporate trust owned and governed by a privately appointed 34-member Board of Trustees.[6] Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[92] A new trustee is chosen by the remaining Trustees by ballot.[28] 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).[93]
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.[94] John L. Hennessy was appointed the 10th President of the University in October 2000.[95] The Provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report.[96] John Etchemendy was named the 12th Provost in September 2000.[97]
The university is organized into seven academic schools.[98] 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.[99]
The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford University and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.[100]
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.[101]

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.[needs update][93][102] 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.[103]
Stanford has been the top fundraising university in the United States for several years. It raised $911 million in 2006,[104] $832 million in 2007,[105] $785 million in 2008,[106] $640 million in 2009,[107] $599 million in 2010,[108] $709 million in 2011,[109] and $1.035 billion in 2012, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.[19]
In 2006, President Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale.[110] 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.[111]


Teaching and learning

Walkway to the School of Education, near the Quad
Stanford University is a large, highly residential research university with a slight majority of enrollments coming from graduate and professional students.[112] The full-time, four-year undergraduate program has an arts and sciences focus with high graduate student coexistence.[112] Stanford University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.[113]
Stanford has been among the most selective institutions in the world for many years. Its most recent undergraduate admit rate (for the class of 2018) further dropped to 5.07%, the lowest in the University's history and lowest of all research universities in the United States (as in 2017).[76]
Full-time undergraduate tuition was $42,690 for 2013–2014.[114] 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.[114] In 2012/13, the university awarded $126 million in need-based financial aid to 3,485 students, with an average aid package of $40,460.[114] Eighty percent of students receive some form of financial aid.[114] Stanford's no-loan policy waives tuition, room, and board for most families with incomes below $60,000, and most families with incomes below $100,000 are not required to pay tuition (those with incomes up to $150,000 may have tuition significantly reduced).[114][115] 17% of students receive Pell Grants,[114] a common measure of low-income students at a college.
The University is currently organized into seven academic schools.[98] 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, Education and Business have graduate programs only. Stanford follows a quarter system with Autumn quarter usually starting in late September and Spring Quarter ending in early June.

Research centers and institutes

Hoover Tower, inspired by the cathedral tower at Salamanca in Spain
From the Hoover Tower one can see all of the Stanford campus. Pictured is the Main Quad and Serra Street.
The Stanford Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research oversees more than eighteen independent laboratories, centers, and institutes.[116]
Other Stanford-affiliated institutions include the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), the Stanford Research Institute (a now independent institution which originated at the university), the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (a major public policy think tank that attracts visiting scholars from around the world), and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education). Unable to locate a copy in any of its libraries, the Soviet Union was obliged to ask the Hoover Institution for a microfilm copy of its original edition of the first issue of Pravda (dated March 5, 1917).[117]
Stanford is home to the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.[118] It also runs the John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists and the Center for Ocean Solutions, which brings together marine science and policy to address challenges facing the ocean.[119]

Libraries and digital resources

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.[120]
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.[121]


Bronze statues by Auguste Rodin are scattered through the campus, including these Burghers of Calais.
Stanford University is home to the Cantor Center for Visual Arts museum with 24 galleries, sculpture gardens, terraces, and a courtyard first established in 1891 by Jane and Leland Stanford as a memorial to their only child. Notably, the Center possesses the largest collection of Rodin works outside of Paris, France.[122] 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,[123] Counterpoint,[124] the Stanford Fleet Street Singers,[125] Harmonics, Mixed Company,[126] Testimony, Talisman, Everyday People, Raagapella,[127] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]
The creative writing program brings young writers to campus via the Stegner Fellowships and other graduate scholarship programs. This Boy's Life author Tobias Wolff teaches writing to undergraduates and graduate students. Knight Journalism Fellows are invited to spend a year at the campus taking seminars and courses of their choice. The Stanford Spoken Word Collective, an extracurricular writing and performance group, also serves as the school's poetry slam team.[128]
Stanford also hosts various publishing courses for professionals. The Stanford Professional Publishing Course, which was offered on campus since the late 1970s, brought together international publishing professionals to discuss changing business models in magazine and book publishing. It ended in 2009, although the tradition has continued at Yale with the Yale Publishing Course that began in 2010. Videos from the Stanford Professional Publishing Courses are still made available on their website.[129]