Stanford University has one of the largest campuses in the US and is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
It was established in 1885 and opened six years later as a co-educational and non-denominational private institution.
Its location, less than an hour’s drive south of San Francisco next to Palo Alto, is in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, and the university is known for its entrepreneurial spirit.
This entrepreneurialism has its roots in the aftermath of the Second World War, when the provost encouraged innovation, resulting in a self-sufficient industry that would become Silicon Valley.
By 1970, the university had a linear accelerator and hosted part of the early network that would become the technical foundation of the internet.
The main campus spans 8,180 acres and is home to almost all the undergraduates who study at the university.
There are 700 major university buildings housing 40 departments within the three academic schools and four professional schools, alongside 18 independent laboratories, centres and institutes.
Stanford counts 21 Nobel laureates within its community, and numerous famous alumni associated with the university from the worlds of business, politics, media, sport and technology.
The 31st president of the US, Herbert Hoover, was part of the very first class at Stanford, and received a degree in geology in 1895. Currently, Stanford is also one of the leading producers of US Congress members.
The alumni include 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, 18 Turing Award recipients and two Fields Medallists.
Google’s co-founders met at Stanford while pursuing doctorate degrees, although neither ultimately completed their theses.
In total, companies founded by Stanford affiliates and alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion annual revenue, which would be the 10th largest economy in the world. These companies include Nike, Netflix, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Instagram, Snapchat, PayPal and Yahoo.
The first American woman to go into space, Sally Ride, received an undergraduate degree in physics from Stanford in 1973. Just 10 years later, she made her ascent into space.
In the five years leading up to 2012, the university embarked on a challenge to raise more than $4 billion. The fundraising exceeded this target and concluded the campaign having raised $6.2 billion, which will be used for more faculty appointments, graduate research fellowships and scholarships, and construction on 38 new or existing campus buildings.
Some of the funds have already been used for large projects, including the world’s largest dedicated stem cell research facility, a new business school campus, a law school expansion, a new Engineering Quad, a campus concert hall and an art museum.
Unofficially, the Stanford motto is a German quotation “Die Luft der Freiheit weht”, which translates as “the wind of freedom blows”.