Stanford University (which is formally known as the Leland Stanford Junior University) is an American private research university located in Stanford, California. The campus is comprised of over 8000 acres near Palo Alto in the Silicon Valley.
Stanford has seven schools. There are two academic schools, Humanities and Sciences and Earth Sciences. There are also five professional schools (Business, Education, Engineering, Law, and Medicine).
Stanford competes in over 30 varsity sports and is one of only two private universities in the Division I FBS Pacific 12 Conference. Stanford athletes have competed in every Olympic Games held since 1912 and have won over 115 gold medals.
Stanford is a major research university in several fields, including computer science, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.
Notable Stanford alumni or attendees include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, novelist John Steinbeck, William Hewlett and David Packard (founders of Hewlett-Packard), Sandra Lerner and Leonard Bosack (founders of Cisco Systems), former US president Herbert Hoover, actor Sigourney Weaver, and Phil Knight (who started the iconic Oregon athletic shoe company Nike in the early 1970’s). The president of Yale University earned his Bachelor of Arts at Stanford.
Stanford was established in 1891 as a memorial to Leland Stanford Junior by his parents, Jane Lathrop Stafford and Leland Stafford Senior. The younger Leland passed away due to typhoid fever two months before his 16th birthday.
Stanford struggled financially after Leland Stanford the older passed away in 1893. Also, much of Stanford’s campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Faced with the possibility that the university would cease to exist after Leland’s death, Jane Lathrop Stanford assumed control of financial, administrative, and development matters at Stanford in 1893. She continued to run the institution until 1905.
At one point, Stanford’s admission of female students was limited to 500 students because Jane Lathrop Stanford felt that too many female students were being admitted to the school and it was not a proper memorial to her son. From 1933 throughout the early 1960’s, Stanford had an official policy of a 3:1 ratio of males to females; by the late 1960’s the ratio was 2:1 throughout the school exclusive of the graduate level. As of 2005, the ratio was effectively abolished and the current makeup of the undergraduate student body at Stanford is split nearly evenly throughout the sexes. Male graduate students still outnumber female graduate students except in the Humanities area.