California AHGP - New California - Chapter XIX



By George A. Clark


Leland Stanford Junior University is located a Palo Alto, California, about thirty-five miles southeast of San Francisco and eighteen miles northeast of San Jose in 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, thirty-three miles distant. The Bay of San Francisco lies in front at a distance of three miles, and beyond it are the mountains of the Diablo range. In addition to the Palo Alto ranch on which the university is situated, its landed endowment comprises the Vina ranch of 59,000 acres in Tehama county and the Gridly ranch of 22,000 acres in butte county.

The university was founded by Senator Leland Stanford, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, as a memorial to their only son who died in Italy in his sixteenth year. The founders desired that the university should have 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 attend at any given time has since 1899 been limited to 500. This number has not yet been reached, but when it is the limitation will be made to apply first to special and irregular students, and afterward as need arises to the freshmen and sophomore classes. It will therefore be many years before any young woman need be actually excluded from at least two years of university work at Stanford.

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 university is pledged to nonpartisanship in politics and non-sectarianism in religion. In the words of the founder, it "must forever be maintained upon a strictly nonpartisan and nonsectarian basis. It must never become an instrument in the hands of any political party or any religious sect."

The endowment grant establishing the university was made in November, 1885, under an act of the legislature of California passed for this purpose. the cornerstone of the institution was laid in May, 1887; and the university was formally opened to students on October 1, 1891. The attendance for the first year numbered 559, and included all college classes, with a number of graduate students. The university graduated its first class of thirty-eight in May, 1892. the original faculty numbered thirty-five professors, instructors and lecturers. David Starr Jordan, a graduate of Cornell University, was selected president of the new university and still remains at its head.

The architecture of the university buildings is patterned after the old Spanish missions of California and Mexico. The buildings are of buff snadstone with red tile roofs. they form two quadrangles, one within another, facing a paved court three and one-quarter acres in extent, diversified with beds of semi-tropical plants. Connected with this quadrangle at various points by corridors, and completely surrounding it, is the outer quadrangle of twelve buildings, for the most part two stories in height above the basement. this outer quadrangle is again surrounded by a continuous open arcade. The interspaces between the two quadrangles are to be beautified by lawns and shrubbery.

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; the library and assembly hall, the latter seating 1.700 people. In the rear of the quadrangles are the central lighting, heating and power plant and 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 adjacent, are located at some distance to the east and west. In front, two on either side of the main driveway, are detached buildings for the department of chemistry, the art museum, the new gymnasium and library, the two latter in course of erection. The museum is a memorial to the son and is the outgrowth of his own idea, one of its most interesting rooms being an exact duplicate of a museum room arranged in the Stanford home by him and containing the collections made in his early travels. The museum contains besides an extensive collection of pictures, the Di Cesnola collection of Greek and Roman antiquities from Cyprus. The library building will contain shelves for 1,000,000 volumes and ample seminary, lecture and reading rooms. The gymnasium, a stone building to cost about $500,000, will be one of the most complete of its kind in the country.

Most striking among the architectural features of the university buildings are the Memorial Arch and the Memorial Church. The former is 100 feet in height, ninety feet in width and thirty-four feet deep, with an archway of forty-four feet spanning the main entrance. A scultured frieze twelve feet in height, designed by St. Gaudens, and representing the progress of civilization, surrounds the arch. The Memorial Church opens from the inner court and is opposite the main entrance. It is of Moorish-Romanesque architecture, its spire rising to a height of 188 feet.

The church, erected by Mrs. Stanford in memory of her husband, is adorned within and without with costly mosaics, representing, as do the beautiful staned glass windows, biblical scenes and characters. It has a splendid organ of forty-six stops and 3,000 pipes and a peel of sweet toned bells, which ring the quarter hours. The church is nonsectarian in character and method. Religious services are held each Sunday morning and afternoon. A permanent chaplin has charge of the congregational work, and outside clergymen of the various denominations are invited from time to time to occupy the pulpit. there is a week-day vesper service and a daily concert on the organ at the close of recitations.

The students live in dormitories and club houses on the grounds, or in private boarding houses in the town. The city of Palo Alto is situated a mile distant from the university buildings, and has been built up by a community interested in educational matters since the opening of the univesity. The professors live in houses provided on the grounds or in their own homes in Palo Alto. The town has an excellent sewer system and owns its own water works and lighting plant. Twelve Greek letter societies for young men and five 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 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 of trustees. The routine work of the faculty is divided among various standing committees with power to act, and responsible primarily to the president. Departmental affairs are in the hands of subordinate councils consisting of the instructing body in each 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. A board of trustees was chosen by the founders, their duties at first being nominal. This provision remained in force until July, 1902, when under a special act of legislature passed for the purpose, Mrs. Stanford, the surviving founder, finally turned over to the board of trustees the full authority and control over the university. The original board of trustees, chosen for life, numbered twenty-four, a number decided to be too large and since reduced to fifteen by leaving vacancies unfilled. In the future, members are to be elected for a term of ten 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, besides the landed estates already mentioned, the Stanford home in the city of San Francisco, together with other real estate in various parts of California, and interest-bearing securities, the whole amounting to about $30,000,000, about two-thirds of which is at present productive of income. For the present, this income is devoted largely to the completion of its buildings.

In its requirements for admission the university recognizes twenty-nine entrance subjects, comprising those commonly included in the secondary school curriculum. These subjects have different values according to the time devoted to them in the preparatory schools. the unit of value is a full year of high school work in any given subject, and any fifteen units, with certain limitations, chosen from accepted list constitutes preparation for full entrance standing. The university has no list of accredited schools, but considered on its merits the work of any reputable school. The student chooses a major subject, the professor in charge of which becomes his adviser. To this subject he is required to devote one-fourth of his time, his remaining time being occupied by courses chosen under the advice and direction of the major professor. Fifteen hours of recitations per week throughout four years constitutes the regular course leading to the A. B. degree. Students are graduated when they have completed 120 hours of university work and have fulfilled the requirements of their major subject. Degrees are conferred in May, September and January of each year.

The university grants the undergraduate degree of A. B. in all courses. The degrees of A. M. and Ph. D. are given for one and three years' work respectively beyond the undergraduate requirements. The LL. B. degree in law and that of engineer in the engineering departments are granted for graduate work. 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 Literature, English Philology, Philosophy, Psychology, Education, History, Economics, Law, Drawing, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, General Botany, Systematic Botany, Physiology, Hygiene, Zoology, Entomology, Geology and Mining, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering.

The university library contains 75,000 volumes. The attendance for the year 1902-03 was 1,483, of which 998 were men, 485 women. The faculty numbers 130 teachers. Tuition is free to California students. Those from other states pay a registration fee of $10 per semester. Of the 1,483 students in 1902-03, 1,171 were from California, representing forty-four counties, 505 being from Santa Clara county. The 312 students from outside California represented thirty-eight states and territories of the Union and Japan, Canada, England, Mexico, India and Sweden.

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