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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.
Leland Stanford, Governor and Senator of California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife Jane Lathrop Stanford founded the university in 1891 in honor 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 50 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, 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. Stanford faculty and alumni have founded many prominent companies including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!. Stanford is also home to the original papers of Martin Luther King Jr., and history professor Clayborne Carson directs the King Papers Project.
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 6,988 undergraduate and 8,400 graduate students. Stanford is a founding member of the Association of American Universities. For the 2011–2012 year, the university managed a US$16.5 billion endowment, with $25.1 billion in consolidated net assets.
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 university in the United States and, in terms of medals won, tied with the country of Japan for 11th place.
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