Stanford University is a private university in Stanford, California and is considered one of the world's most prestigious. It has one of the largest endowments of any academic institution in the world. It is located approximately 35 miles southeast of San Francisco, in an unincorporated part of Santa Clara County adjacent to the city of Palo Alto.
The University's founding grant was written on November 11, 1885 and accepted by the first Board of Trustees on November 14. The cornerstone was laid on May 14, 1887, and the University officially opened on October 1, 1891 to 559 students, with free tuition. The school was established as a coeducational institution, although it maintained a cap on female enrollment for many years.
The official motto of Stanford University, selected by the Stanfords, is "Die Luft der Freiheit weht." When loosely translated from the Latin, by way of German, the quote from Ulrich von Hutten means "Let the winds of freedom blow."
Many of the modern buildings were designed in the Spanish-colonial style common to California, with red tile roofs and white stucco exteriors, which gives the campus a uniform yet distinctly Californian look that many find aesthetically pleasingthe red tile roofs and bright blue skies common to the region are a famously complementary combination. The University has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lagunita), both home to the endangered California Tiger Salamander.
Contemporary campus landmarks include the Stanford Quad and Memorial Church, the art museum and art gallery, the Stanford masoleum and the Angel of Grief, Hoover Tower, the Rodin sculpture garden, the Papua New Guinea sculpture garden, Green Library, Frank Lloyd Wright's Beehive House and the Dish.
The University has approximately 1,700 faculty members, including 17 Nobel laureates and 23 MacArthur fellows. The largest part of the faculty are affiliated with the medical school (40 percent), while a third serve in the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Stanford built its international reputation as a pioneering Silicon Valley institution through top programs in engineering and the sciences. Stanford has played an important role in the development of Silicon Valley, and birthed companies such Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Yahoo, Google and Sun Microsystemsindeed, "Sun" originally stood for "Stanford University Network." The university also offers world-class programs in the humanities, particularly creative writing, history, government, economics and psychology.