The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Leland Stanford Junior University

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Leland Stanford Junior University

Edition of 1920. See also Stanford University on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY, a coeducational institution at Palo Alto, California, about 30 miles southeast of San Francisco, in the Santa Clara Valley. The university campus comprises 9,000 acres of land, partly in the level of the valley and partly rising into the foothills of the Santa Moreno Mountains, which separate it from the Pacific Ocean, 33 miles beyond. The Bay of San Francisco lies in front at a distance of three miles and across it are the mountains of the Diabolo range.

The university was founded by Leland Stanford (q.v.) and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford (q.v.), as a memorial to their only son who died in his 15th year. The founders desired that the university should give a training primarily fitted to the needs of young men. Both sexes are admitted to equal advantages in the institution, but the number of young women who may attend at any given time is limited to 500. Beginning with the academic year 1916-17 the number of first-year men students will be limited to 500 annually. The object of the university, as stated by its founders, is “to qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life” and to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principles of government as derived from the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The endowment grant establishing the university was made in November 1885, under an act of legislature passed for this purpose; the cornerstone of the institution was laid in May 1887; and the university was formally opened to students on 1 Oct. 1891. The attendance for the first year numbered 559 and included all college classes with a number of graduate students, the university graduating its first class of 38 in May 1892. The original faculty numbered 35 professors and instructors, under the leadership of David Starr Jordan as president. In 1913 John Casper Branner became president, the office of chancellor being created for Dr. Jordan. On 1 Jan. 1916 Dr. Branner retired and was succeeded by Ray Lyman Wilbur, a graduate of the university.

The architecture of the university buildings is patterned after the old Spanish missions of California and Mexico. The buildings are of buff sandstone with red tile roofs. They form two quadrangles, one within another, with detached buildings grouped about them. The inner quadrangle consists of 12 one-story buildings, connected by an open arcade, facing a paved court of three and one-quarter acres in extent. Connected with this quadrangle at various points by corridors, and completely surrounding it, is the outer quadrangle of 12 buildings, for the most part two stories in height above the basement. This outer quadrangle is again surrounded by a continuous open arcade. In the inner quadrangle are the departments of law, of the different languages and mathematics, and the administrative offices. In the outer quadrangle are the scientific, engineering and geological departments, those of history, economics and English, and the library and assembly hall. In the rear of the quadrangles are the laboratories and shops of the engineering departments. The dormitories, one for young men and another for young women, with their gymnasia and athletic grounds about them, are located to the east and west. In front to the right of the main drive are the building of the department of chemistry and the art museum. A new and permanent library building, to replace one destroyed by the earthquake of 1906, will soon be begun.

Most striking among the architectural features of the university buildings were the Memorial Arch and the Memorial Church. The former was 100 feet in height, 90 feet in width and 34 feet deep, with an archway of 44 feet spanning the main entrance. This arch was destroyed by the earthquake and has not yet been restored. A sculptured frieze 12 feet in height, designed by Saint Gaudens, and representing the progress of civilization, surrounded it. The Memorial Church opens from the inner court and is opposite the main entrance. It is of Moorish-Romanesque architecture. The church, erected by Mrs. Stanford in memory of her husband, is adorned within and without with costly mosaics, representing, as do the beautiful stained windows, Biblical scenes and characters. It has a splendid organ of 46 stops and 3,000 pipes and a chime of sweet-toned bells. The church is non-sectarian in character and method. Religious services are held each Sunday morning and afternoon. There is a week-day vesper service and the organ is played each day at the close of recitations. The church was greatly damaged by the earthquake, but has been practically restored.

The students live in the dormitories, in club houses on the grounds or in private boarding-houses in the village, which is situated a mile distant from the university buildings. The professors live in homes provided on the grounds or in the village. Twenty Greek-letter societies for young men and 10 for young women occupy chapter homes on the campus.

In the government of the students, “the largest liberty consistent with good work and good order is allowed. They are expected to show both within and without the university such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Students failing in these respects or unable or unwilling to do serious work toward some definite aim are not welcomed and are quickly dismissed.”

The university council consists of the president, professors and associate and assistant professors of the university faculty. To it is entrusted the determination of requirements for admission, graduation and other matters relating to the educational policies of the institution. It acts as an advisory body on questions submitted to it by the president or trustees. The routine work of the faculty is divided among various standing committees with power to act and responsible primarily, some to the council and some to the president. Departmental affairs are in the hands of subordinate councils consisting of the instructing body in the department, a member of which is designated by the president as presiding officer.

The general control of the university's affairs was by special provision in its charter reserved to the founders or either of them during their lifetime, they to act in the capacity of a board of trustees, the trustees themselves having only a nominal connection. This provision remained in force until July 1903, when under a special act of legislature passed for the purpose, Mrs. Stanford finally turned over to the board of trustees full authority and control over the university. The board of trustees numbers 15, members being elected for a term of 10 years. In educational matters the president of the university has the initiative, his acts being subject to the confirmation of the trustees. The board through a treasurer and business manager, one of their own number, administers directly the financial affairs of the institution.

The endowment of the university comprises 90,000 acres of land, including the Palo Alto, Vina and Gridley estates, and interest-bearing securities, the whole amounting to about $30,000,000, two-thirds of which is productive of income.

In its entrance requirements the university recognizes 29 entrance subjects of different values according to the time devoted to them in the secondary schools. The unit of value is a full year of high school work in the particular subject, and any 15 units, with certain limitations, chosen from this list constitute preparation for full entrance standing. The university has no list of accredited schools, but considers on its merits the work of all reputable schools. The student chooses a major subject, the professor in which becomes his adviser and to which he is required to devote one-fourth of his time. His remaining time is filled up by courses chosen by the student under the advice and direction of his major professor. Fifteen hours of recitations per week constitute the regular course throughout a period of four years. Students are graduated when they have completed 120 hours of work and the requirements of their major subject. Degrees are conferred in May, September and January.

The university grants the undergraduate degree of A.B. in all courses; the degrees of A.M. and Ph.D. for one and three years' work, respectively, beyond the undergraduate requirements; the J.D. and LL.B. degrees in law, M.D. in medicine, and that of Engineer for graduate work in engineering. The university grants no honorary degrees.

The work of the university is grouped under the following departmental heads:

Greek, Latin, Germanic languages, Romanic languages, English, philosophy, psychology, education, history, economics, law, mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, physiology, zoology, entomology, anatomy, bacteriology, geology and mining, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, medicine.

The university library contains 265,000 volumes. The attendance for the year 1915-16 was 2,197, of which 500 were women. The faculty numbers 214. Tuition is free, but all undergraduate students pay an incidental fee of $15 per semester, also the customary laboratory and class fees. A tuition of $100 a year in law and $150 in medicine are charged in the professional courses of these departments.

In recent years the most important development in the university has been the establishment and growth of the medical school in San Francisco, based on the Cooper Medical College foundation, which was taken over in 1908. The laboratories of anatomy, bacteriology, physiology, chemistry, etc., are located on the campus at Palo Alto. The professional courses are conducted in the city. The buildings of the school consist of a clinical and laboratory building, Lane Hospital, with a capacity of 180 beds, a nurses' home, and the Lane Medical Library building, containing 40,000 volumes. The university is about to erect a new hospital building at a cost of half a million dollars.