On my recent visit to a conference in the states I flew through San Francisco and so decided to stop in for a few days and visit the local universities. The San Francisco area has some of the world’s best universities, with the University of California branches (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, etc.), the California state universities, and – ofcourse – Stanford University. All Stanford graduates I ever met, without exception, were all very proud of their university and maintaining some sort of posh elitist facade that I was never quite sure what to make of. Now that I’ve toured the campus a bit and met with some of its residents, I can understand why. Everything about this campus screams intellect and elegance, though not in an overly pretentious way like what I felt at Harvard. Atmosphere felt healthy, relaxed, and quite enjoyable.
Wha’s Stanford? Their website has a great intro :
Stanford University, located between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, is one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities. Since its opening in 1891, Stanford has been dedicated to finding solutions to big challenges and to preparing students for leadership in a complex world.
Leland Stanford, who grew up and studied law in New York, moved West after the gold rush and, like many of his wealthy contemporaries, made his fortune in the railroads. He was a leader of the Republican Party, governor of California and later a U.S. senator. He and Jane had one son, who died of typhoid fever in 1884 when the family was traveling in Italy. Leland Jr. was just 15. Within weeks of his death, the Stanfords decided that, because they no longer could do anything for their own child, “the children of California shall be our children.” They quickly set about to find a lasting way to memorialize their beloved son.
On October 1, 1891, Stanford University opened its doors after six years of planning and building. The prediction of a New York newspaper that Stanford professors would “lecture in marble halls to empty benches” was quickly disproved. The first student body consisted of 555 men and women, and the original faculty of 15 was expanded to 49 for the second year. The university’s first president was David Starr Jordan, a graduate of Cornell, who left his post as president of Indiana University to join the adventure out West.
Wikipedia has some interesting stats about enrollment :
It has been among the most selective institutions in the world for many years. For the class of 2016, Stanford received 36,631 applications and accepted 2427 or 6.6%, the second lowest in the country. Its most recent acceptance rate (for the Class of 2017) further dropped to 5.69%, which was the lowest in the university’s history. […] Full-time undergraduate tuition was $42,690 for 2013–2014.
Looking at some of the stats, there’s no doubt that Stanford is probably one of the wealthiest universities in the world (18.7 billion US$ endowment). And it really shows.
The campus is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s very welcoming and comfortable to explore. The Hoover Tower is a good place to start for some breathtaking views of the whole area…
If you’re into arts, there’s a lovely arts museum on campus …
Lots of smaller buildings with exhibitions all over campus…
As well as coffee shops and restaurants. The visitor center offers information and tours for the interested.
I could be biased, but I think that if you’re in the area this a definite must for you to visit. There are very few campuses that impressed as much as Stanford did and if you have any ties to academia, I bet Stanford has some of the best scholars in your field.
An absolute treat.