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Presidential Search (2015-16) – About Stanford

In its 125-year history, Stanford has become one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions. Its academic programs demonstrate excellence across the spectrum of the humanities, sciences, engineering, and professional disciplines.

Stanford’s more than 2,000 faculty members are committed teachers and leaders in their fields. Its 16,000 students hail from all 50 states and more than 90 countries, creating a diverse, global, and dynamic community. Known worldwide for its entrepreneurial character, Stanford continues to shape the history of Silicon Valley and fuel innovation across disciplines.

Stanford was unconventional from the start, and its founding principles are integral to the university. In memory of their son, Leland Jr., Jane and Leland Stanford founded a coeducational, nondenominational, and affordable university. It was open to qualified students from all backgrounds, and for 29 years, tuition was free. Their intention was practical and civic-minded: “to advance learning . . . and to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Today, Stanford draws purpose from these principles. They ground the university in its work to advance and apply knowledge, make meaningful public contributions, and keep a Stanford education as affordable and accessible as possible.

Stanford consists of seven schools: Humanities & Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Law, Business, Education, and Earth, Energy, & Environmental Sciences. Research across all seven is remarkable for its breadth, depth, and interdisciplinary strength. In 2014–15, the total budget for Stanford’s 5,300 externally sponsored projects, including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, was $1.33 billion. The university’s 18 independent interdisciplinary centers generate ten percent of this research. Approximately 300 faculty and 800 students are involved in projects that integrate the study of the environment and climate; culture and economics; medicine and health care; chemistry and biology; and physics, materials, energy, and space. Thirty-one Stanford faculty have won the Nobel Prize since the university’s founding; the current faculty includes 21 Nobel laureates, 276 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 154 National Academy of Sciences members, 105 National Academy of Engineering members, two Fields Medal and four Pulitzer Prize winners. Each year, Stanford research produces innovative new technologies and inventions. In 2013–14, Stanford received more than $108.6 million in gross royalty revenue from 655 technologies; in the same timeframe, the university concluded 106 new licenses.

Stanford’s 9,100 graduate and professional students are a vibrant, creative, and accomplished community deeply engaged in the life of the university. Approximately 5,500 graduate students live on campus, and new graduate students are guaranteed housing in the first year. Graduate students are part of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, the Spoken Word Collective, the Haas Center for Public Service, Intramural Sports, and more. They are involved in well over 70 graduate and postdoctoral organizations that range from the Science and Engineering Graduate Women’s Association and the Organization for Global Health to the Stanford Africa Business Forum. Graduate students are vital to the university’s research mission, and their contributions enrich the Stanford community.

The aims of a Stanford undergraduate education are comprehensive and forward-thinking. They emphasize a broad liberal arts foundation, development of deep subject-area knowledge, cultivation of personal and social responsibility, and the capacity to adapt knowledge and skills in a changing world. Extensive learning opportunities in overseas study, public service, and the arts complement and support these aims. Stanford’s 7,000 undergraduates are distinguished by initiative and love of learning. They are active in more than 650 student organizations, and nearly one-half of each graduating class studies abroad. In athletics, Stanford has no peer. Its NCAA Division 1 athletic program has been recognized as the most successful in the country for 21 years in a row.

Stanford enjoys tremendous support from its 217,000 living alumni and donors. They carry forth Stanford’s global mission and contribute to its future. Alumni deeply appreciate their time at Stanford, and they and other donors give generously. The university’s 2006–11 capital campaign, The Stanford Challenge, raised $6.2 billion, an unprecedented level of support for an institution of higher learning. The Stanford Challenge remains the most successful fundraising effort in the history of higher education.

In the last decade, capital improvements have transformed Stanford’s campus. New, state-of-the-art facilities integrate leading edge technology and support Stanford’s multidisciplinary, collaborative approach. The 8.2 acre Science and Engineering Quad dedicates more than 550,000 square feet to teaching and research. The Bing Concert Hall, the Anderson Collection at Stanford, and the Department of Art and Art History’s new 100,000-square-foot McMurtry Building—all built within the last three years—complete the Arts District on campus. The Knight Management Center at the Graduate School of Business opened eight buildings on 12.5 acres in 2011. The 824,000-square-foot Stanford Hospital is scheduled to open in 2018. Other exciting building projects include the Science Teaching and Learning Center, which will anchor a developing Biology/Chemistry District; Humanities House, the first new undergraduate residence to open in 20 years; and Windhover, a contemplative center comprised of indoor and outdoor spaces, a reflecting pool, and a granite labyrinth. Stanford’s campus investment is ongoing, thoughtful, and visionary, sustaining initiatives from infrastructure improvements to new academic and research facilities in its overall support of the university’s teaching, learning, and research mission.

Stanford’s 8,180 acres and more than 1,000 buildings require significant energy resources, and this demand has spurred university efforts to meet its energy needs sustainably. Today, Stanford is a global leader in sustainability research, innovation, and practice. Through industry partnerships and its own institutes, the university actively works to advance clean energy technologies. The campus’s comprehensive, state-of-the-art energy system will make it one of the most energy-efficient universities in the world. Currently, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and potable water use far exceed the goals of California’s AB 32 Global Warming Solutions Act. The university’s long-term Energy and Climate Plan, when fully implemented, provides a pathway for Stanford to reach full energy sustainability.

Stanford University is a trust with corporate powers under the laws of the State of California. Under Founding Grant provisions, the Board of Trustees is custodian of the endowment and all university properties. The board sets the annual budget, determines policies for operation, and is responsible for appointing the president. In 2014–15, Stanford’s consolidated budget for operations was $5.1 billion. The university’s endowment, as of June 2015, is $22.2 billion.

This fall, Stanford begins an anniversary celebration marking 125 years since first opening its doors to students on October 1, 1891. It’s an exciting time to be at Stanford and to be embarking on a search for the next Stanford president.

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