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Founded in 1891 by California railroad tycoon Leland Stanford, Stanford University was established as a co-educational and non-denominational institution that struggled initially and was devastated by the nearby San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
It has since emerged as one of the premier universities in the western United States and the world. It is consistently ranked as one of the top research and educational institutions in the U.S. The university is also known as the “Harvard of the West.”
Stanford University today is one of the top universities with an emphasis on scientific, technological, and social science research. The main campus is located in northwestern Santa Clara Valley 20 miles northwest of San Jose.
It has been instrumental in the rise and success of Silicon Valley and is now a major research center in computer science, mathematics, and social sciences.
Stanford is comprised of seven schools including the Schools of Earth Science, Humanities and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Law, and Medicine.
The student body is fairly evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate students with all 50 states and numerous foreign countries represented among the diverse student body. The university is located on a picturesque 8,183 acre Northern California campus making it the 2nd largest university in terms of contiguous area in the world.
The campus has several notable landmarks that make it stand out in architectural terms. The Memorial Church in the center of the campus was built during the American Renaissance period and is known as the architectural crown jewel of the university.
The Cantor Center for the Visual Arts is an art museum with 24 galleries, sculpture gardens, terraces, and courtyard, all of which come with free admission. The most notable structure on campus is the Hoover Tower.
The 285-foot tower was completed in 1941 a tribute to the university`s 50th anniversary; it was inspired by the cathedral tower at Salamanca. It has on observation deck that is open daily to the public to take in scenic views of the countryside and on a clear day you can see all the way to San Francisco.
Stanford is a member of the Pacific -10 athletic conference which includes other California schools as well as other western schools. The university offers 34 varsity sports, 19 sports clubs, and a large number of intramural sports.
Stanford awards around 300 athletic scholarships a year to outstanding male and female athletes. Stanford has played in the grandaddy of all football bowl games, the Rose Bowl 12 times in its history, most recently in 2000. It has one of the most successful overall athletic programs in the United States with 99 NCAA titles in a number of different sports.
Some notable alumni from Stanford include tennis legend John McEnroe, NFL quarterback Jim Plunkett, pro golfer Tiger Woods, Nobel Prize laureates, and numerous members of Congress.
With technology moving at breakneck speed, Stanford University is uniquely positioned to continue to be at the forefront of innovation.