Friday, December 5, 2008


Stanford University was founded by California Governor Leland Stanford and his wife Jane Stanford in honour of their only son who died of typhoid when he was16 years old.
The school is referred to as “The Farm” as it is located in the horse farm of Leland Stanford. The University officially opened in 1891. Among the first class of students was a young future president Herbert Hoover, who would claim to be first student ever at Stanford, by virtue of having been the first person in the first class to sleep in the dormitory.
The official motto of Stanford University, is "The wind of freedom blows.”
Stanford University owns 8,183 acres It is sometimes asserted that Stanford University occupies the largest university campus in the world, in terms of contiguous area. The red tile roofs and solid sandstone masonry hold a distinctly Californian appearance and most of the subsequently erected buildings have maintained consistent exteriors. The red tile roofs and bright blue skies common to the region are a famously complementary combination. Much of this first construction was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but the University retains the Quad, the old Chemistry Building and Encina Hall (the residence of Herbert Hover, John Steinbeck during their times at Stanford).
Among the impressive structures in the Quad are bronze casts of “The Burghers of Calais.” This is one of the most famous sculptures by Auguste Rodin, completed in 1888.. It serves as a monument to an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years War. When Calais, an important French port on the English Channel,was under siege by the British for over a year. The story goes that England's Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crecy, laid siege to Calais and Philip IV of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege and starvation eventually forced the city to parley for surrender. Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out almost naked and wearing nooses around their necks and be carrying the keys to the city and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de Saint Pierre , volunteered first and five other burghers soon followed suit and they stripped down to their breeches. Saint Pierre led this envoy of emaciated volunteers to the city gates and it is this moment and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice and the facing of imminent death that Rodin captures in these figures. In history, though the burghers expected to be executed, their lives were spared by the intervention of England's Queen, who persuaded her husband by saying it would be a bad omen for her unborn child. While the original statue still stands in Calais, there are versions standing in 15 different venues, including the one at Stanford University.
We went up the Hoover Tower which is a 285-foot structure on the campus of the University.. The tower is part of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, a research center founded by former American President. Hoover. The Tower, which is a reproduction of the cathedral tower at Salamanca was finished in 1941, the year of Stanford's 50th anniversary. The tower has a carillon of 48 bells cast in Belgium. One of the bells weighs 2.5 tons. The first 9 floors of the tower are library stacks and floors 10-12 are used for offices. The observation deck platform on the 14th floor is 250 feet above the ground, and provides an expansive view of the Stanford University campus and surrounding area. We saw from there two nearby bridges and had a panoramic view of Palo Alto and the San Francisco Bay.
Stanford Memorial Church stands at the center of the University campus. It was built by as a memorial to Leland Stanford. The church, also known as "MemChu", was built in the early 1900s, and has hosted approximately 7,500 weddings since it was completed in 1903. Some of the artwork was not completed until 1905.The church has four organs and a facade decorated with colorful mosaics. The mosaic was the largest in America at the time it was completed, and took 12 men two years to complete. The original organ, called the Romantic Organ, was built in 1901, and has 3,355 pipes.
The 1906 earthquake shook the church with such vehemence that "The clock tower and spire plunged through the roof of the church with such force that the entire north face of the building with its wondrous mosaic was blown out and totally destroyed." It was decided to be reconstructed without the clock tower.
The Church cost more than $1,000,000 to build (early 1900s dollars), and the mosaics alone cost $97,000. The exterior of the Church is 190 feet long and 86 feet high at the fa├žade. There is seating for 1,250 people on the main floor of the building. The interior of the Church is 152 feet long, and the main aisle is 98 feet long. The nave is 50 feet across at its center.
The Church is available to people of all faiths, but daily and Sunday services are generally Protestant.
Stanford's current community of scholars includes:
· 16 Nobel laureates
· 4 Pulitzer Prize winners
· 239 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
· 132 members of the National Academy of Sciences
· Living Nobel Laureates ( I give names of ones we know)
Kenneth J. Arrow

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics, shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economics for pioneering contributions to general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory.
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics, and A. Michael Spence, Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business, shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information.
P P R—10-8-2008

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