Coordinates: 37°26′N 122°10′W / 37.43°N 122.17°W / 37.43; -122.17
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California, on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto.[note 1] It is situated in the northwestern Silicon Valley, approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of San Jose and 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco. In the 2013 admissions cycle, Stanford was the most selective large American University, with a rate under 5.7%, surpassing eastern Harvard, Yale and Columbia. Stanford is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the United States and the world.
Leland Stanford, Governor of and U.S. Senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, founded the university in 1891 in memory of their son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid two months before his 16th birthday. The university was established as a coeducational and nondenominational institution. Tuition was free until the 1930s. The university struggled financially after the senior Stanford's 1893 death and after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, Provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates' entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would become known as Silicon Valley. By 1970, Stanford was home to a linear accelerator, and was one of the original four ARPANET nodes (precursor to the internet).
Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members, and Stanford has the largest number of Turing award winners (dubbed the "Nobel Prize of Computer Science") for a single institution. Stanford is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, and one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress. Faculty and alumni have founded many prominent companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!, and companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world. Stanford is also home to the original papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The university is organized into seven schools, including academic schools of Humanities and Sciences and Earth Sciences as well as professional schools of Business, Education, Engineering, Law, and Medicine. Stanford has a student body of approximately 7,000 undergraduate and 8,900 graduate students. Stanford is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.
Stanford competes in 34 varsity sports and is one of two private universities in the Division I FBS Pacific-12 Conference. Stanford has won 103 NCAA championships (the second-most for a university), and Stanford's athletic program has won the NACDA Directors' Cup every year since 1995. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 244 Olympic medals total, 129 of them gold. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States and, in terms of total medals won, would have tied with Japan for 11th place.
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