|JANE LATHROP STANFORD|
I AM to tell you to-day the story of a noble life, of one of the bravest, wisest, most patient, most courageous and most devout of all the women who have ever lived. I want to give to those of the university to whom its founders are but a memory some lasting picture of the woman who saved the university, which she and her honored husband founded in faith and hope, and who thus made possible the education you are receiving. I want to make my story as impersonal as I can, as though I spoke not for myself but for all of you, men and women of Stanford, with all gratitude towards the many who have helped in the great work, and with all charity towards those whose interests or whose conscientious convictions ranged them on the other side. If I am successful, you will see more clearly than ever before the lone, sad figure of the mother of the university, strong in her trust in God and in her loyalty to her husband's purposes, happy only in the belief that in carrying out her husband's plans for training the youth of California in virtue and usefulness she was acting the part to which she was assigned.
We have often said that Stanford University belongs to the Stanford students. It was the free gift of the founders, man and woman that were, to the students, the men and women that were to be. It is your university, yours and yours only, as once it was theirs.
But we must not interpret this gift too narrowly. It is not yours, you students of to-day, to have or to hold in any exclusive way. The university belongs to all the students, those who have been here, some ten thousand in all, those who are here to-day, seventeen hundred more or less, and those who are to come. Before these we count as nothing, for the students to come will number for each century about a hundred thousand. And there are many of these centuries, for the world is still very young, and a university once firmly rooted is as nearly eternal as human civilization itself can be. The university stands for the highest thought and wisest action possible for man, and the need of a university must endure so long as man exists; and that will be for a very long time. Man is bounded by the limits of space, but the race once established on this planet of ours, we see no limit of time, no prospect of a
- Founder's Day address at Stanford University, March 9, 1909.