Stanford University

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Stanford University
motto The wind of freedom blows
founding 1891
Sponsorship Private
place Stanford , California ,
United States
president Marc Tessier-Lavigne
Students 16,420 (2020)
Employee 13,300 (2020)
including professors 2,219 (2019)
Annual budget US $ 6.8 billion (2020)
Foundation assets US $ 27.7 billion (2020)
University sports Cardinal ( Pacific-12 Conference )
Networks Association of American Universities
Stanford University main entrance
Forecourt and park in front of the Memorial Church
Overview of the campus

The Leland Stanford Junior University (short Stanford University or Stanford , nickname "The Farm") is a private American university in Stanford , California . It is located about 60 kilometers southeast of San Francisco near Palo Alto and was founded by Leland Stanford and his wife Jane Stanford in 1891 in memory of their only son who died young. There are currently 16,122 students enrolled at the university and studying in one of the seven faculties . Its president is Marc Tessier-Lavigne .

It is one of the most research-intensive and renowned universities in the world. Since its inception, 30 teachers have been awarded the Nobel Prize. The university has more Turing Awards (“Nobel Prize for Computer Science”) winners than any other institution in the world and currently has 21 Nobel Prize winners, four Pulitzer Prize winners and 24 MacArthur Fellows . The university regularly achieves top positions in various ratings for academic institutions.

With his research, Stanford is also considered to be the main founder of the nearby Silicon Valley , an important business location that is home to numerous companies in the IT and high-tech industries.

In university sports, the university is represented with its Cardinal team in the League Pacific-12 Conference (PAC-12) and takes part in many different sports competitions. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, athletes from the university won 25 medals, including 8 gold medals . In 2012 in London, 12 Stanford athletes received gold medals.

Stanford is one of the richest universities in the world with approximately $ 28 billion in endowment. Since 2008 Stanford has stopped charging tuition fees for undergraduate students whose parents earn less than 100,000 (since 2020: 150,000) US dollars a year. This means that around a third of all Bachelor students can study free of charge. Students whose parents earn less than $ 65,000 also receive free board and lodging.


The decision to found the company was made by the former California entrepreneur and governor Leland Stanford and his wife Jane Stanford a few weeks after the death of their only 15-year-old son Leland Stanford junior in 1884. They provided in 1885 for the establishment of the university named after the deceased Funds and the area of ​​their Palo Alto Stock Farm in the Bay Area , about 60 kilometers south of San Francisco , are available for the establishment of The Leland Stanford Junior University Foundation . After a six-year planning and construction phase, the university was opened and teaching began on October 1, 1891.

The concept of the university was unusual for the time, because it enabled women and men to study equally and was not affiliated with any religious community. The Stanford couple wanted a major private university to be built on the American west coast. On a visit to Boston, the Stanfords asked then-President of Harvard University , Charles Elliot, how much it would cost to duplicate Harvard in California, to which he replied that $ 5 million (rate of 1884) should be sufficient. The first few years, however, turned out to be financially difficult despite the large fortunes of the Stanfords. At times, Jane Stanford pawned personal property to cover the running of the university. In particular, a $ 15 million litigation weighed on the university's budget. After the dispute was settled, however, the financial situation improved significantly, to which the $ 30 million donation from Jane Stanford in 1901 contributed significantly.

In the years that followed, university life flourished as many different faculties were established. In the 1920s, the Stanford graduate and later President of the USA, Herbert Hoover , laid the foundation for the later Hoover Institution. The Stanford University Alumni Association was founded in 1934 and still plays a key role in supporting and developing the university today.

During and after the Second World War , the university became one of the growth engines of Silicon Valley and sustainably accelerated the economic, cultural and scientific development of the region around San Francisco, in particular the emergence of the Internet industry and e-commerce . The university is a member of the Association of American Universities , an association of leading research-intensive North American universities that has existed since 1900.

The motto of the university, which adorns the seals and all souvenirs of the university, is written in German: “ The air of freedom blows. “The phrase goes back to the German humanist Ulrich von Hutten (1488–1523) and was introduced by David Starr Jordan , the first president of Stanford University.

From 1992 to 2000 the German legal scholar Gerhard Casper was president of the university.



The university is located on a 3310 hectare campus and is around 60 kilometers southeast of San Francisco and 32 kilometers northwest of San José . In the immediate vicinity is the city of Palo Alto , one of the centers of Silicon Valley .

The land was donated by Leland Stanford on November 11, 1885 to establish the university and is still inalienable as part of the foundation's assets. Leland Stanford attached great importance to the unsaleability of the property because, in his opinion, it should secure “a greater income than any other investment” for the university. Only a few peripheral areas, which Leland Stanford later added to the university, can theoretically be sold, but are in fact treated as inalienable.

The campus was initially planned in the summer of 1886 by Frederick Law Olmsted , a Boston landscape architect, who changed the originally planned location in the hills in favor of the location in the lowlands. Charles Allerton Coolidge later took over the planning and built the campus in the style of the European Beaux-Arts at the will of the Stanford couple . The architecture of the campus is characterized by cuboid sandstone buildings with red roofs, which are connected by arcades decorated with round arches . They are modeled on the style of the California mission stations . In contrast with the region's usually light blue sky, they give the campus a distinctive look, which the first President David Starr Jordan described as follows:

"The yellow sandstone arches and cloisters, the red-tiled roofs against the azure sky, make a picture that can never be forgotten, itself an integral part of a Stanford education."

Arcade walkways and Hoover Tower as seen from the Main Quad

The heart of the campus architecture is the “Main Quad” (roughly: main square, in the sense of “square square”) and the “Memorial Church”. The access to the campus is provided by the so-called Palm Drive, which leads to an oval square (The Oval). Other important points on campus are the Cantor Center for Visual Arts , the Hoover Tower , the Rodin Garden and the radio telescope ( The Dish ).

South of the main campus is an environmental reserve belonging to the university , the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve , which biologists use for research purposes, e.g. B. the night observation of bats, is used and has a size of 490 ha.

Most of the students live on campus. This is around 95% of the Bachelor's students, and over 56% of the Master's and PhD students . 30% of the professors also live here.

The campus is a popular tourist destination, so the Stanford Visitor Center offers one-hour student tours of the site twice a day.

60% of the area of ​​the campus is still undeveloped today.


The university is organized as a so-called corporate trust and is exempt from tax payments. It is headed by a Board of Trustees made up of 35 people. They usually hold office for five years and can be a member of the committee a maximum of two consecutive years (a total of ten years). Members also oversee the operations of Stanford Research Park , Stanford Shopping Center , Cantor Center for Visual Art , Stanford University Medical Center, and many affiliated medical facilities.

The Board of Trustees appoints a President, defines the duties of the professors and the degree programs, and deals with all financial and economic issues of the university. In addition to the President, 9 Vice- Presidents are also appointed. Neuroscientist Marc Tessier-Lavigne is currently the 11th president of the university. He was appointed on September 1, 2016, succeeding the US professor of electrical engineering and computer science John LeRoy Hennessy in this position.

The university is divided into seven schools , comparable to German faculties. These are the School of Humanities and Sciences (includes the humanities, natural and social sciences), School of Engineering (engineering sciences), School of Earth Sciences (geological, energy and environmental sciences), School of Education (educational sciences and teacher training), Graduate School of Business (economics), Law School (law) and the School of Medicine (medicine).

Foundation, endowment

The foundation's assets are managed by Stanford Management Company and currently (2019) amount to 27.7 billion US dollars. On the one hand, the income from the investment of the foundation's assets, which is limited to 5% in accordance with the statutes, covers the university's annual expenses, on the other hand, part of the income is returned to the foundation's assets. In the 2018–2019 fiscal year, 22% of the university's total spending ($ 6.8 billion) was accounted for by income from the foundation's assets. This is the second-largest item after funds for direct research funding (e.g. from the federal government), but only slightly ahead of funds from tuition fees .

Large amounts of grants for Stanford University students are also provided from the foundation's assets. In 2019, 23% of the foundation's income was spent on financial support for students. Faculties and teaching staff funded 20% of the proceeds. 28% of the income is used for research and teaching. The rest is spent on libraries and other uses. The foundation's assets make up by far the largest share of the university's assets (38.8 billion US dollars).


Stanford University has received a large amount of donation over the past decade. She is at the forefront of fundraising at US universities. She received donations of $ 640.1 million in 2009, $ 598.9 million in 2010, and $ 709.4 million in 2011. In fiscal 2019, the university received $ 1.1 billion from more than 55,000 donors

The Stanford Challenge project attracted particular attention . This five-year fundraising campaign raised funds to finance several major university projects in the field of research, teaching and infrastructure development on the campus. The fundraising goal of US $ 4.3 billion was met two years before the end of the campaign, but the campaign continued and raised a total of US $ 6.23 billion in donations by the end of 2011. This surpassed the previous donation record of US $ 3.88 billion set by Yale University . With the help of the donations, 139 new chairs were created and 38 buildings were renovated or built. About 10,000 volunteers helped to organize the campaign and were more than 166,000 donors 560,000 donations acquire .

Study and Research

The university offers a wide range of study opportunities and, as a so-called research university, is also broadly positioned in the field of basic research and doctoral training . The majority of the students are so-called graduate students . In other words, they already have a first university degree, for example a BA , and are studying for a Master’s or Ph.D. -Degree. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Full-time undergraduate studies cost $ 74,570 annually in 2019, with 65% of students receiving some form of financial assistance. The university spent a total of approximately $ 191 million on these scholarship programs in 2018-2019. The cost of studying at graduate level is in a similar range but varies from faculty to faculty. Over 85% of the graduate students also receive financial support.

Course offer

As usual in the USA, the courses on offer differ between undergraduate and graduate studies . The former serve the acquisition of a bachelor's degree, the latter the acquisition of a master's degree or doctorate. The objectives of the training were set out in writing by Jane and Leland Stanford in the university's founding document:

"... to qualify its students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life; And its purposes, to promote the public welfare by excercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principle of government as derived from the inalienable rights of man to life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness. "

The undergraduate studies can be completed at Stanford with a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts and Science (BAS). The subjects of study include anthropology, biology, chemistry, history, music, philosophy, physics, political science, sociology, theater studies, economics and many other subjects. Of the large number of applicants, only a few are admitted to the course (2011: approx. 7%), which are determined in a standardized selection process. Around 60% of the students come from public schools, 30% from private schools and 10% from abroad.

The graduate course enables the acquisition of various master's and doctoral degrees with respective specializations. The offer is also broadly diversified and enables, for example, a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Public Policy (MPP) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Branch offices

Since 1982 the university has operated branch offices at ten universities worldwide under the name Bing Overseas Studies Program . This program enables Stanford students to study abroad or do an internship and was used by 44% of students to study abroad in 2011. The places for studying abroad are Australia , Barcelona , Berlin , Florence , Hong Kong , Istanbul , Cape Town , Kyoto , Madrid , Moscow , Oxford , Paris , Beijing and Santiago de Chile . In Berlin, the branch is now in the Cramer house , after the premises of the Free University of Berlin were used until 1975 .


Both application and basic research is carried out at the university. Not only the professors, but also the graduate students and, in some cases, advanced undergraduate students are involved in this work. The university follows the Humboldtian ideal of the unity of teaching and research. Particular emphasis is placed on the interdisciplinary nature of research. Research is carried out e.g. B. in the development of a 3.2 gigapixel camera at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, as part of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or in the project Cracking the Neural Code . The so-called Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971, which is considered a milestone in the psychological research of human behavior under the conditions of captivity, especially under the field conditions of real prison life, achieved fame . In addition, the Folding @ home project , which uses distributed computing to fold proteins, is operated at Stanford University . The university is home to many specialized research centers, including the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies . In 2011, Stanford raised more than $ 66 million in license fees for inventions developed at the university, including DSL transmission technology and recombinant DNA technology.

The university has many founders from well-known IT companies, e.g. B. Google , Yahoo , Hewlett-Packard , Cisco Systems , and promotes a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in its students and faculty . The university is an important economic factor in the region. However, some researchers at the university complain that the university is sometimes too close to and dependent on companies.


The university enjoys an excellent reputation in research and teaching in all disciplines and is one of the world's leading universities. In this context, attention is often paid to the good personal support situation for students by professors, since there is one teacher for every eight students. In addition, 75% of the courses have fewer than 20 students. Of the undergraduate courses, 36% have class sizes of two to nine students. For this reason, Stanford is often referred to as a “dream college” by both students and parents, according to a survey by the Princeton Review 2010.

The university regularly occupies top positions in the well-known university rankings. In 2012, she took second place in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking . The university also ranks second in the Academic Ranking of World Universities , together with Harvard University . The US News and World Report magazine's ranking separates undergraduate and graduate courses for US universities . In 2013, Stanford University ranks fifth in the field of undergraduate education. The graduate courses are listed separately by faculty. The Stanford Graduate School of Business ranks first, along with Harvard Business School . The School of Education comes fourth, the School of Engineering second, and the School of Law also comes second. The Stanford Medical School ranked fourth in the research.

Nobel Prize Winner

Stanford currently has 21 Nobel Prize winners. Another nine Stanford professors received the Nobel Prize, but have since passed away. Stanford only counts those Nobel Prize winners who belong or belonged to one of the university's faculties, not those who are loosely connected to the university.




Establishing technology companies

The culture of Stanford University includes the practical application of study and research in technology company start-ups . Both the inventors and funders of venture capital in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area have close ties with the university. In 2013 the Stanford Board of Trustees decided to get involved in promoting start-ups in the future. Via the StartX fund, which was originally set up by students, the university will invest in newly founded companies of its students and graduates. The project begins with medical technology and is expected to provide a volume of 50–100 million US dollars for all technical fields by 2018.


Stanford Stadium

Stanford University's sports teams are called the Stanford Cardinal . The university is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference . Traditionally, interest in the Stanford football team is highest and peaks in rivalry against the University of California, Berkeley team . The football stadium was rebuilt in 2005-2006 and currently holds 50,000 spectators. The construction cost was 90 million US dollars and was carried out by the architectural firm Hoover and Associates . The old Stanford Stadium, which was built in 1921, also played host to the men's 1994 and women's 1999 World Cup.


The copy of the Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin as individual figures in the Memorial Court, Stanford University

On campus is the art museum founded by Leland Stanford and his wife Jane and now known as the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts . There is a well-known exhibition with sculptures by Auguste Rodin . The university sponsors over 100 music, dance and theater performances annually, which attract over 30,000 visitors. The Bing Concert Hall opened in January 2013, has a 360 ° concert hall with outstanding acoustics for live performances and offers space for 842 visitors. It is suitable for chamber music or small jazz combos as well as for large orchestras. The acoustic design was done by Nagata Acoustics ' Yasuhisa Toyota .




IT area

Stanford University is the nucleus of Silicon Valley , and numerous companies were founded by university graduates. The best known include Intel , Google , Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard .



  • Margo Davis: The Stanford album: a photographic history, 1895-1945. Stanford Univ., Stanford, Calif. 1989, ISBN 0-8047-1639-0 .
  • Stuart W. Leslie: The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford. Columbia University Press, New York [u. a.] 1993, ISBN 0-231-07958-3 .
  • Rebecca S. Lowen: Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford. University of California Press, Berkeley 1997, ISBN 0-520-20541-3 .

Web links

Commons : Stanford University  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g Stanford University: Facts. 2020, accessed on March 22, 2020 . Stanford Facts at a Glance ( Memento from July 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Administration & Finances. Stanford University, accessed July 22, 2018 .
  3. a b Research and Teaching - Dossier Universities in the USA, October 2008 ( Memento from October 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  4. von Sydow / Többe / Staschen, Handbook for Studies and Internships Abroad, 2004, p. 28.
  5. ^ A b - Nobel Prize Winner - Stanford
  6. Stanford Facts: Research , accessed on August 22, 2012
  7. a b May 18, 2020: How Stanford Lost Its Soul. In: May 20, 2020, accessed on May 21, 2020 .
  8. ^ Stanford University: Stanford Athletes Complete Olympic Action. August 14, 2012, accessed March 24, 2020 . Stanford Athletes ( Memento from May 21, 2013 on the Internet Archive )
  9. Tuition fees only with a family income of $ 100,000 or more Spiegel Online , February 22, 2008.
  10. The Founding of Stanford University (PDF; 4.1 MB), accessed on October 1, 2010.
  11. ^ Stanford University Archives , accessed August 23, 2012.
  12. Stanford University Gets $ 30,000,000 , New York Times. December 10, 1901. 
  13. Gerhard Casper: The air of freedom blows - On and Off . Stanford University. October 5, 1995. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  14. ^ A b Stanford Historical Society: Sandstone & Tile. In: (Vol. 19), Nos. 1-2, p. 3. 1995, accessed March 23, 2020 . Original ( Memento from July 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  15. ^ About Stanford . In: Stanford University . ( [accessed June 4, 2018]).
  16. a b Stanford University Annual Financial Report 2019, p. 6 (PDF; 5.1 MB).
  17. ^ The Stanford Challenge - Final Report The Stanford Challenge | Final report
  18. ^ Stanford University: The Founding Grant with Amendments, Legislation and Court Decrees. 1987, accessed March 23, 2020 .
  19. ^ Stanford university: Portal Undergraduates. Retrieved March 23, 2020 . Stanford Facts 2012 ( Memento from August 25, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  20. ^ Stanford University Bing Overseas Studies
  21. ^ SLAC - National Accelerator Laboratory: Astrophysics and Cosmology. Retrieved March 25, 2020 . Research at SLAC ( Memento from September 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  22. The Stanford Challenge - Cracking the neural code ( Memento of the original from June 27, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. ^ Stanford Technology Ventures Program , accessed August 22, 2012
  24. Stanford Facts: Research , accessed on August 22, 2012
  25. DAAD Study Guide USA, 2008, p. 30
  26. ^ Stanford University - Academics
  27. ^ Princeton Review's 2010 College Hopes & Worry Survey . PR Newswire. March 24, 2010. Archived from the original on March 30, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  28. Ranking universities worldwide - Times Higher Education (THE)
  29. Ranking universities worldwide - Center for World Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  30. a b Ranking Business Schools - US News and World
  31. ^ Ranking Engineering Schools - US News and World
  32. ^ Ranking Law Schools - US News and World
  33. ^ Ranking Medical Schools - US News and World
  34. - Nobel Laureates at Stanford
  35. ^ Stanford: StartX, Stanford University and Stanford Hospital & Clinics announce $ 3.6M grant and venture fund , September 5, 2013
  36. ^ Stanford: StartX
  37. ^ Stanford Live - Bing Concert Hall

Coordinates: 37 ° 25 ′ 44 ″  N , 122 ° 10 ′ 10 ″  W.