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The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university located in Stanfordmarker, Californiamarker, United States. The university was founded in 1891 by United States Senator and former California governor Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, as a memorial to their son Leland Stanford Jr., who died of typhoid in Italymarker a few weeks before his 16th birthday. The Stanfords used their farm lands in Palo Altomarker to establish the university with the hope of creating a large institution of higher education in California.

Stanford enrolls about 6,700 undergraduate and about 8,000 graduate students from the United States and around the world every year. The university is divided into a number of schools such as the Stanford Business School, Stanford Law School, Stanford School of Medicine, and Stanford School of Engineering. The university is in Silicon Valleymarker, and its alumni have founded companies including Nikemarker, Hewlett-Packard, Electronic Arts, Sun Microsystems, Nvidiamarker, Yahoo!, Cisco Systems, Silicon Graphics and Google.

The 2010 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Stanford's undergraduate program fourth in the nation, and Stanford is consistently ranked high in other college and university rankings. Stanford is one of two private universities that compete in the Pacific-10 Conference. Stanford's main athletic rival is Calmarker, and the two schools meet annually in the Big Game, a football game in which the winner is awarded the Stanford Axe. Cal is currently the holder of the Axe, having won the 2009 Big Game.


Stanford was founded by Leland Stanford, a railroad magnate, United States Senator, and former California Governor, and his wife, Jane Stanford. It is named in honor of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died in 1884 just before his 16th birthday. He died in Florencemarker, Italymarker after falling ill in Athensmarker while traveling abroad with his parents. 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."

There exists a popular story that a lady in "faded gingham" and a gentleman in a "homespun threadbare suit" went to visit the provost of Harvardmarker about making a donation, were rebuffed, and then founded Stanford. The historical account is that the Senator and Mrs. Stanford visited Harvard's President Eliot and asked how much it would cost to duplicate Harvard in Palo Altomarker. Eliot replied that he supposed $15 million would be enough. However, the Stanfords were gracefully rebuffed in securing A.D.marker Whitemarker the president of Cornell Universitymarker as Stanford's founding president. Instead, White recommended David Starr Jordan, White's former student. They eventually settled on David Starr Jordan, president of Indiana University, although they had offered leaders of the Ivy League twice his salary to direct Stanford.

Locals and members of the university community are known to refer to the school as The Farm, a nod to the fact that the university is located on the former site of Leland Stanford's horse farm.

The motto of Stanford University, proposed by the first president, David Starr Jordan, is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht." Translated from the German, this quotation of Ulrich von Hutten means "The wind of freedom blows." At the time of the school's establishment, German had recently replaced Latin as the supraregional language of science and philosophy. 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.

The University's founding grant was written on November 11, 1885, and accepted by the first Board of Trustees on November 14. The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887, and the University officially opened on October 1, 1891, to 559 students and 15 faculty members, seven of whom hailed from Cornell Universitymarker. At the opening of the school, students were not charged for tuition, a program which lasted into the 1930s . Among the first class of students was a young future president Herbert Hoover, who would claim to be first student ever at Stanford, by virtue of having been the first person in the first class to sleep in the dormitory.

On October 1, 1891, Stanford University opened its doors after six years of planning and building. In the early morning hours, construction workers were still preparing the Inner Quadrangle for the opening ceremonies. The great arch at the western end had been backed with panels of red and white cloth to form an alcove where the dignitaries would sit. Behind the stage was a life-size portrait of Leland Stanford, Jr., in whose memory the university was founded. About 2,000 seats, many of them sturdy classroom chairs, were set up in the Quad, and they soon proved insufficient for the growing crowd. By mid-morning, people were streaming across the brown fields on foot. Riding horses, carriages, and farm wagons were hitched to every fence and at half past ten the special train from San Francisco came puffing almost to the university buildings on the temporary spur that had been used during construction.

The school was established as a coeducational institution. However, Jane Stanford soon put a policy in place limiting female enrollment to 500 students because of the large number of women 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. 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 and much more skewed at the graduate level, except in the humanities. As of 2005, undergraduate enrollment is split nearly evenly between the sexes, but male enrollees outnumber female enrollees about 2:1 at the graduate level.

When Senator Stanford died in 1893, the continued existence of the University was in jeopardy. 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. A $15 million government lawsuit against Senator Stanford's estate, combined with the Panic of 1893, made it extremely difficult to meet expenses 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.

Jane Stanford continued to supervise the University's development until her death in 1905. Her 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". 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 wouldn't get the impression Stanford was unhealthy. She had Starr Jordan fire Edward Alsworth Ross, a close friend of his on the economics and sociology faculty, whom she suspected of being a radical for his public statements in favor of municipal control of city transit systems. Between 1899 and 1905, she spent US$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.

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed parts of the Main Quad (including the original iteration of Memorial Churchmarker) as well as the gate that first marked the entrance of the school; rebuilding on a somewhat less grandiose scale began immediately.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Stanford professor and later Provost Frederick Terman encouraged students 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 Valleymarker grew up around the Stanford campus. Terman is often called "the father of Silicon Valley".

In 1969 the Stanford Research Institute operated one of the four original nodes that comprised ARPANET, predecessor to the Internet.


Stanford University is located on an campus approximately southeast of San Franciscomarker and approximately northwest of San Josemarker. Stanford is situated adjacent to the city of Palo Altomarker, on the San Francisco Peninsula. It also operates the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, Californiamarker, in Monterey Baymarker. The main campus is bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard and Sand Hill Road, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Stanford University owns , which makes it the second largest university in the world, in terms of contiguous area. Moscow State Universitymarker is built vertically and has a larger total floor area but occupies a smaller piece of land. Berry College occupies of contiguous land, and Paul Smith's Collegemarker occupies of land in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, but neither is a university. Duke Universitymarker occupies , but they are not contiguous. The United States Air Force Academy has a contiguous at its disposal, but it is not a university. Dartmouth Collegemarker, with a large land grantmarker, owns more than , but only of those are part of the campus. Sewanee: The University of the South occupies 13,000 acres in its "Domain" however most of this is unused forest.

In the summer of 1886, when the campus was first being planned, Stanford brought the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker, Francis Amasa Walker, and prominent Bostonmarker landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted westward for consultations. Olmsted worked out the general concept for the campus and its buildings, rejecting a hillside site in favor of the more practical flatlands. 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. The original campus was also designed in the Spanish-colonial style common to California known as Mission Revival. The red tile roofs and solid sandstone masonry hold a distinctly Californian appearance and most of the subsequently erected buildings have maintained consistent exteriors. The red tile roofs and bright blue skies common to the region are a famously complementary combination.

Much of this first construction was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but the University retains the Quad, the old Chemistry Building (which is not in use and has been boarded up since the 1989 earthquake), and Encina Hall (the residence of Herbert Hoover, John Steinbeck, and Anthony Kennedy during their times at Stanford). After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakemarker inflicted further damage, the University implemented a billion-dollar capital improvement plan to retrofit and renovate older buildings for new, up-to-date uses.

Stanford University is actually its own census-designated placemarker which is part of unincorporated Santa Clara Countymarker though some of the university land is within the city limits of Palo Alto. For many intents and purposes it can be considered a part of the city of Palo Alto; they share the same school districtmarker and fire department though the police forces are separate. The United States Postal Service has assigned it two ZIP codes: 94305 for campus mail and 94309 for P.O. box mail. It lies within area code 650marker and campus phone numbers start with 721, 723, 724, 725, 736, 497, or 498.

The physicist Werner Heisenberg was once asked if he knew where Stanford University was located. "I believe it is on the west coast of the United States, not far from San Francisco. There is also another school nearby, and they steal each other's axes," he replied, referring to Stanford's rivalry with the University of California, Berkeleymarker.

Stanford offers a free shuttle bus service named Marguerite and offers monetary incentives to its employees for carpooling. The Green Dorm currently under construction will house between forty and fifty students, have a net carbon emission of zero, and produce more electricity than the building itself uses. In 2009, The Sustainable Endowments Institute awarded Stanford University with a grade of A- in its annual College Sustainability Report Card, making Stanford one of the top fifteen of the 300 colleges and universities reviewed. The Aspen Institute ranked the Stanford Graduate School of Business as the #1 MBA program for incorporating social and environmental issues into the training of future business leaders, out of 590 schools worldwide.


Contemporary campus landmarks include the Main Quad and Memorial Churchmarker, the Cantor Center for Visual Artsmarker and art gallerymarker, the Stanford Mausoleummarker and the Angel of Grief, Hoover Towermarker, the Rodin sculpture garden, the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, the Arizona Cactus Gardenmarker, the Stanford University Arboretummarker, Green Library and the Dishmarker. Frank Lloyd Wright's 1937 Hanna-Honeycomb Housemarker and the 1919 Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover Housemarker are both listed on the National Historic Register.Image:Stanford University Quad Memorial Church.JPG|
Stanford Memorial Churchmarker
Image:Lou Henry Hoover House from NW.jpg|
Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover Housemarker
Image:Stanford Mausoleum.jpg|
Stanford Mausoleummarker
Image:Stanford University Hoover Tower.JPG|
Hoover Towermarker
Image:The Dish, Stanford University.jpg|
The Dishmarker

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. Similar to a condominium, the houses can be bought and sold but the land under the houses is rented. The Faculty Ghetto is composed of land owned entirely by Stanford. A faculty member cannot buy a lot, but he or she can buy a house, renting the underlying land on a 99-year lease. The cost of owning a house in Silicon Valleymarker remains high, however, and the average price of single family homes on campus is actually higher than in Palo Alto. The rapid capital gains of Silicon Valley landowners are enjoyed by Stanford, although Stanford, by the terms of its founding cannot sell the land. Houses in the "Ghetto" may appreciate or may depreciate but not as rapidly as overall Silicon Valley land prices.

Non-main campus

On the founding grant but away from the main campus, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a nature reserve owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research. Hopkins Marine Station, located in Pacific Grove, Californiamarker, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892. The University also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunitamarker, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the endangered California Tiger Salamander. Lake Lagunitamarker is often dry now, but the university has no plans to artificially fill it.

Sustainability At Stanford

Stanford has several sustainability initiatives underway, such as a plan to build a green dorm, led by Professor Gil Masters, and a new environmentally friendly Environment and Energy building. The Woods Institute serves to undergird the university’s environmental movement as well, as a “hub for multidisiciplinary environmental research, teaching, and outreach.” Stanford is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Administration and organization

Stanford University is a tax-exempt corporate trust owned and governed by a privately appointed 35-member Board of Trustees. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Centermarker, the Cantor Center for Visual Artsmarker, Stanford University Medical Centermarker and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children's Hospitalmarker).

The Board appoints a President to serve as the chief executive officer of the university and proscribe the duties of professors and course of study, manage financial and business affairs, and appoint nine vice president posts. John L. Hennessy was appointed the 10th President of the University in October 2000. The Provost is the chief academic and budget officer and office to which the deans of each of the seven schools report. John Etchemendy was named the 12th Provost in September 2000.

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. 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 for most purposes the Faculty Senate made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty handles matters.

In 2006, President Hennessy launched the Stanford Challenge, a $4.3 billion fund raising campaign focusing on three components; multidisciplinary research initiatives, initiatives to improve education, and core support. Stanford raised $832.2 million in private donations from 69,350 donors in 2006–2007, the most of all U.S. universities.

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.


Walkway near the Quad
Stanford University is a large, highly residential research university with a majority of enrollments coming from graduate and professional students. The full-time, four year undergraduate program is classified as "more selective" and has an arts & sciences focus with high graduate student coexistence. Stanford University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Full-time undergraduate tuition was $36,030 for 2008–2009.

Research centers and institutes

View of Hoover Tower from Main Quad.
Other Stanford-affiliated institutions include the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratorymarker (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. Apparently because it could not locate a copy in any of its libraries, the Soviet Unionmarker was obliged to ask the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, at Stanford University, for a microfilm copy of its original edition of the first issue of Pravda (dated March 5, 1917).

The Stanford Center, an intensive language training institute, was originally established at National Taiwan University marker to fulfill Stanford's needs in training graduate students in Mandarin Chinese. Later, other prestigious universities joined the board and the institute changed its name to the Inter-University Program (IUP). Today, the IUP has relocated to Beijing, while the original program in Taipeimarker exists as an institute of NTU and is now known as the International Chinese Language Program .

Libraries and digital resources

The Stanford University Libraries hold a collection of more than eight million volumes. The main library in the SU library system is Green Library. Meyer Librarymarker holds the vast East Asia collection and the student-accessible media resources. Other significant collections include the Lane Medical Library, Terman Engineering Library, Jackson Business Library, Falconer Biology Library, Cubberley Education Library, Branner Earth Sciences Library, Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library, Jonsson Government Documents collection, Crown Law Library, the Stanford Auxiliary Library (SAL), the SLAC Library, the Hoover library, the Miller Marine Biology Library at Hopkins Marine Station, the Music Library, the Library for Aid with Down Syndrome (LADS), and the University's special collections. There are 20 libraries in all.

Digital libraries and text services include HighWire Press, the Humanities Digital Information Services group and the Media Microtext Center. Several academic departments and some residences also have their own libraries.

Stanford is a founding and charter member of CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, the nonprofit organization which provides extremely high-performance Internet-based networking to California's K-20 research and education community.

Student body

Demographics of student body
Undergraduate Graduate California U.S. Census
African American 10% 3% 6.2% 12.1%
Asian American 23% 13% 12.3% 4.3%
White American 38% 35% 59.8% 65.8%
Hispanic American 12% 5% 35.9% 14.5%
Native American 2.7% <1%></1%> 0.7% 0.9%
International student 7% 33% N/A N/A

Stanford enrolled 6,532 undergraduate, 1,021 professional, and 10,280 graduate students in 2008. Women comprised 48.9% of undergraduates and 37.6% of professional and graduate students. The freshman retention rate for 2007 was 98.3%, the four year graduation rate is 79.4%, and the six year rate is 94.4%. The relatively low four year graduation rate is a function of the University's Co-Term program, which allows students to earn a Masters degree as an extension of their undergraduate term.

Stanford awarded 1,646 undergraduate degrees, 1,984 master's degrees, 673 doctoral degrees, and 271 professional degrees in 2008. The most popular bachelor's degrees were in the social sciences, interdiscplinary studies, and engineering.

Stanford received 25,299 applications for admissions to the undergraduate program in 2007–2008, admitting 2,400 (9.8%), and enrolling 1,703 (71%), the lowest percentage in the University's 117-year history. 92% of students graduated in the top tenth of their high school class and the inter-quartile ranges for the SAT was 680–780 for math, 670–760 for writing, and 650–760 for reading.

For the class of 2013, Stanford received 5300 single-choice early action applications and accepted 689 of them, for an early admission rate of approximately 13%. This application season Stanford received more than 30,000 total applications from both the regular and early rounds and expects an overall admission rate of about 7.2%, the lowest rate yet in the university's history and more than 2% lower than for the class of 2012.

Stanford's admission process is need-blind for US citizens. The university awarded $75.6 million in financial aid to 2,960 students, an average package of $33,108. Stanford does not require a parental contribution for families with income below $60,000 and families with income below $100,000 will have tuition charges covered.


Stanford University's undergraduate program is ranked fourth among national universities by U.S. News and World Report (USNWR). Stanford is ranked second among world universities and second among universities in the Americas by [[Academic Ranking of World Universities

Jiao Tong University's system]], seventeenth among world universities in the THES - QS World University Rankings, (subject rankings: social sciences, technology: 3rd, life sciences & biomedicine: 6th, arts & humanities, natural sciences: 8th). Seventh among national universities by The Washington Monthly, second among "global universities" by Newsweek, and in the first-tier among national universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance. The Stanford Law School is ranked third in the nation while its Education School and Business School are both ranked second. Forbes ranked the Stanford Graduate School of Business on the top on its 2009 "Best Business Schools" list. Stanford School of Medicine is currently ranked sixth in research according to U.S. News and World Report. The admission rates for all Stanford schools (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) are amongst the lowest (if not the lowest) in the United States.

Also, Stanford received an overall grade of "A-" on the Sustainable Endowment Institute's College Sustainability Report Card 2009, with climate, energy, and transportation as weak points. Stanford was one of 15 schools, out of 300 in the U.S. and Canada, to receive this grade.


Stanford University is home to the Cantor Center for Visual Artsmarker 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. 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, particularly within the extracurricular 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, Counterpoint, The Stanford Fleet Street Singers, Harmonics, Mixed Company, Testimony, Talisman, Everyday People, Raagapella, 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 has been offered on campus since the late 1970s, brings together international publishing professionals to discuss changing business models in magazine and book publishing.

Endowment and fundraising

Stanford was the top fund-raising university in the United States for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008 with $785 million.

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. In the economic downturn of January 2009, however, the endowment has dropped 20 to 30 percent. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Stanford's endowment has lost approximately $4 billion to $5 billion, or 20 to 30 percent of its value," since 2008. As a result, all campus units are cutting their budgets by 15 percent in 2009.

Student life

Dormitories and student housing

89% of undergraduate students live in on-campus university housing, partially because first-year students are required to live on campus and most continue doing so throughout their enrollment. According to the Stanford Housing Assignments Office, undergraduates live in 80 different houses, including dormitories, co-ops, row houses, fraternities and sororities. From the late 1960s to 1991, Manzanita Park was a site where 118 mobile homes were installed as "temporary" housing, but is now the site of modern dorms. Residences are located generally just outside the campus core, within ten minutes (on foot or bike) of most classrooms and libraries. Some residences are for freshmen only; others give priority to sophomores, others to both freshmen and sophomores; some are available for upperclass students only, and some are open to all four classes. Most residences are coed. Seven residences are all-male fraternities, three are all-female sororities, and there is one all-female 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. Beginning in 2009-10, the university's housing plan anticipates that all freshman desiring to live in all-freshmen dorms can be accommodated. In the 2009-10 year, almost two-thirds of freshmen will be housed in Stern and Wilbur halls. The one-third that requested four-class housing will be located in other dormitories throughout campus. 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 the University of Pennsylvaniamarker.

Several residences are considered theme houses, with a cross-cultural, academic/language, or focus theme. Examples include Chicano themed Casa Zapata, German language-oriented Haus Mitteleuropa, and arts-focused Kimball.

Another famous style of housing at Stanford are the co-ops. These houses feature cooperative living, where residents and eating associates each contribute work to keep the house running. Students often help cook meals for the co-op, or clean the shared spaces. The co-ops are Chi Theta Chi, Columbae, Enchanted Broccoli Forest (EBF), Hammarskjöld (which is also the International Theme House), Kairos, Terra, and Synergy.

At any time, around 50 percent of the graduate population lives on campus. When construction concludes on the new Munger graduate residence, this percentage will probably increase. First-year graduate students are guaranteed housing.


Vintage Stanford University postcard
  • Full Moon on the Quad: A student gathering in the Main Quad of the university. Traditionally, seniors exchange kisses with freshmen, although students of all four classes (as well as the occasional graduate student or stranger) have been known to participate. In September 2009 the administration announced that it was canceling that year's Full Moon festivities out of concern for students' health and the threat of swine flu.
  • Sunday Flicks: Watching a film on Sunday night in Memorial Auditoriummarker. Usually involves paper airplanes or simply throwing wads of newspaper. Flicks ran into significant financial trouble in 2006 and after an ASSU bail-out became free for all students.
  • Steam-tunnelling: Exploring the steam tunnels under the Stanford campus
  • Fountain-hopping: Leaping/swimming around in any of Stanford's many fountains (such as the Claw in White Plaza)
  • Big Game events: Including Big Game Gaieties (a student-written, composed, and produced musical), which is the week before and including the Big Game vs. UC Berkeleymarker.
  • Primal scream: Performed by stressed students at midnight during Dead Week
  • Midnight Breakfast: During Winter quarter dead week, Stanford faculty serves breakfast to students in several locations on campus (you might see a vice-provost refilling orange juice, etc.)
  • Viennese Ball: a formal ball with waltzes which was started in the 1970s by students returning from the now closed Stanford in Viennamarker program.
  • The Stanford Powwow: Organized by the Stanford American Indian Organization and held every Mother's Day weekend.
  • Mausoleum Party: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleummarker which contains the corpses of Leland Stanford, Jr. and his parents. It was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 because of the fear that the festivities would further deteriorate the conditions of the mausoleum , but was revived in 2006.
  • Stanford Dance Marathon: A 24-hour dance-a-thon which raises money for Partners in Health and was started in 2004.
  • Stanford Charity Fashion Show: A large, student run, diversity fashion show showcasing student, local, and international designers was started in 1991 and has run for 17 years.
  • Senior Pub Night: On most Thursdays during the school year, seniors gather together at a bar in Palo Alto or San Francisco. The location rotates week to week, and chartered buses are organized to take the seniors safely between the bar and campus.
  • Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the university created the degree of Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman for persons that 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 Salter Packard, and John Gardner.
  • Birthdays: Students get thrown in the shower by their friends at midnight.
  • A Capella groups perform in student residences during New Student Orientation and throughout the year. Some of the most notable original songs include those by humor-focused FleetStreet such as "Everyone Pees in the Shower" and "Pray to the God of Partial Credit".
  • The Game put on by the dorm staff usually in the spring and summer quarters.
Former campus traditions include the Big Game bonfire on Lake Lagunitamarker (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

Stanford is home to three housed sororities (Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Delta Delta Delta) and seven housed fraternities (Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Kappa Sigma, Kappa Alpha, Theta Delta Chi, Sigma Nu, Phi Kappa Psi), as well as a number of unhoused Greek organizations, such as Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Gammamarker, Chi Omega, Delta Tau Delta, Alpha Kappa Psi, Sigma Theta Psimarker, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Lambda Phi Epsilon, Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Lambda Theta Nu, Gamma Zeta Alpha, Alpha Phi Omega and Sigma Psi Zeta. In contrast to many universities, all the Greek houses are on university land and in almost all cases the university also owns the house. As a condition to being recognized they also cannot permit the national organization or others outside the university from having a veto over membership or local governance.

Student groups

Stanford offers its students the opportunity to engage in nearly 600 groups. 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 include:
  • The Stanford Pre-Business Association is the largest business focused undergraduate organization. It plays an instrumental role in establishing an active link between the industry, alumni and student communities.
  • 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 (NASC) or the World Solar Challenge (WSC).
  • Stanford Astronomical Society organizes viewings of meteor showers, lunar eclipses, and other astronomical events.
  • The Stanford Kite Flying Society (founded 2008), a group of gregarious undergraduates dedicated to flying kites. Society "meetings" are usually on Wilbur Field when it is windy out.
  • The Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), a culture-oriented community service and social activism group. Also integral to PASU is a traditional performing arts arm called Kayumanggi.
  • Stanford Finance is a pre-professional organization aimed to mentor students who want to enter a career in finance, through mentors and internships.
  • Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students ( BASES) is one of the largest professional organizations in Silicon Valley with over 5,000 members. Their goal is to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.


Stanford participates in the NCAA's Division I-A and is a member of the Pacific-10 Conference. It also participates 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. Women's field hockey team is part of the NorPac Conference. Stanford's traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeleymarker, its neighbor to the north in the East Bay.

Stanford offers 34 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 Bowlmarker 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. Stanford won back-to-back Rose Bowls in 1971 and 1972. Stanford has played in 12 Rose Bowls, most recently in 2000. Stanford's Jim Plunkett won the Heisman Trophy in 1970.

Club sports, while not officially a part of Stanford athletics, are numerous at Stanford. Sports include archery, badminton, cricket, cycling, equestrian, hurling, ice hockey, judo, kayaking, men's lacrosse, polo, racquetball, rugby union, squash, skiing, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon and Ultimate. The men's Ultimate team won national championships in 1984 and 2002, the women's Ultimate team in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007 College Women's Champions Ultimate Players Association, 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.

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 at Stanford.

The Stanford sports teams are now officially referred to as the Stanford Cardinal, referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Cardinal, and later cardinal and white has been the university's official color 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 , the tree symbol derives from the El Palo Altomarker 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 Stadiummarker. Cobb Track, Angell Field, and Avery Stadium Pool are considered world-class athletic facilities. Stanford Stadiummarker hosted Super Bowl XIX on January 20, 1985, featuring the local San Francisco 49ers defeating the Miami Dolphins by a score of 38–16.

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 fifteen years. The Cup has been offered for sixteen years.

NCAA achievements: Stanford has earned 96 National Collegiate Athletic Association national team titles since its establishment, the second-most by any university, and 421 individual NCAA championships, the most by any university.

Olympic achievements: According to the Stanford Daily, "Stanford has been represented in every summer Olympiad since 1908." 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." Stanford athletes won 24 medals at the 2008 Summer Games–8 gold, 12 silver and 4 bronze.

Notable alumni, faculty, and staff

Stanford alumni started companies including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, NVIDIAmarker, SGI, VMware, MIPS Technologiesmarker, Yahoo!, Google, Wipro Technologies, and Sun Microsystems. The Sun in Sun Microsystems originally stood for "Stanford University Network."

Stanford's current community of scholars includes:

NFL quarterbacks Jim Plunkett, Trent Edwards and John Elway, NFL receiver Gordon Banks, NFL Fullback Jon Ritchie, MLB starting pitcher Mike Mussina, MLB left-fielder Carlos Quentin, Grand Slam winning tennis players John McEnroe (did not graduate) (singles and doubles) and (doubles) Bob and Mike Bryan, professional golfer Tiger Woods (did not graduate), Olympic swimmers Jenny Thompson, Summer Sanders and Pablo Morales, Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and U.S. President Herbert Hoover are alumni.


  1. Mirielees, Edith R., Stanford:The Story of a University, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1959, page 20
  2. Cornell/Stanford Connection
  4. Dave Revsine, One-sided numbers dominate Saturday's rivalry games,, November 30, 2006.
  6. The Stanford Daily, November 12, 2004
  7. Mirrielees, Edith R., Stanford: The Story of a Universitiy, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1959, Library of Congress card catalog # 59-13788, pp. 82-91
  9. Stanford centennial tour
  12. See Demographics of California and Demographics of the United States for references.
  15. [1]
  16. Stanford Daily, Sept. 24, 2009
  17. The 37th Annual Stanford Powwow May 9-11, 2008
  19. Greek Life @ Stanford
  20. College Open Champions Ultimate Players Association
  21. NCAA website
  22. Cardinal boasts golden history - The Stanford Daily Online
  23. Forty-two athletes try living up to Stanford’s Olympic legacy - The Stanford Daily Online
  24. Stanford Sets All-Time Record With 25 Olympic Medals

Further reading

  • 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 0974365408
  • Jean Fetter, Questions and Admissions: Reflections on 100,000 Admissions Decisions at Stanford (1997-07-01) ISBN 0804731586
  • Ricard Joncas, David Neumann, and Paul V. Turner. Stanford University. The Campus Guide. Princeton Architectural Press, 2006. 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


  • DVD: Legends of Stanford (2008-09-23) UPC: 182490000514 Amazon entry

External links

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