Leland Stanford Junior University , commonly referred to as Stanford University or simply Stanford , is a private research university in Stanford, California in the northwestern Silicon Valley near Palo Alto. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Leland Stanford, former governor of and U.S. senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, founded the university in 1885 in memory of their son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid two months before his 16th birthday in 1884; it opened on October 1, 1891. The university was established as a coeducational and nondenominational institution. Tuition was free until the 1930s. The university struggled financially after Leland 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).
Today, the University comprises various academic components and has nurtured many prominent alumni. It is organized into seven schools with a student body of approximately 7,000 undergraduates and 8,900 graduates. Since 1952, 58 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university. Moreover, it has produced the largest number of Turing Award laureates for a single academic institution and is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and 17 astronauts. Stanford is also 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. Its most recent acceptance rate, 5.69% for the Class of 2017, was the lowest ever recorded in the university's history.
Stanford competes in 36 varsity sports and is one of two private universities in the Division I FBS Pacific-12 Conference. It has won 104 NCAA championships, the second-most for a university, and has won the NACDA Director's Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup, every year since 1994–5.