10 Fun and Interesting Facts About Stanford University
4 min read
1. Leland Stanford Junior University
Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland Stanford (an industrialist and politician) and his wife, Jane Stanford. The school’s full name is actually Leland Stanford Junior University, and it was named in honor of their child who tragically died of typhoid fever at the age of fifteen.
2. Fountain Hopping
Stanford houses dozens of fountains around its campus. Fountain hopping is a cherished tradition at Stanford where students explore the various fountains on campus and splash around. This activity is particularly popular among freshmen, who typically participate during New Student Orientation and Admit Weekend.
3. Hoover Tower
The Hoover Tower is a prominent landmark at Stanford University. It was donated by the Belgian-American Education Foundation, and is an integral component of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. This research center, which is affiliated with Stanford, focuses on public policy and was established by Herbert Hoover, a Stanford alum and the 31st president of the United States.
4. The Stanford Band Run
During the annual Band Run, members of the marching band pick up freshmen and faculty members from residence halls all throughout campus. At each pickup spot (Stern, Wilbur, White Plaza, FloMo, Lagunita, Roble, and FroSoCo), they perform a musical number and dance routine before continuing on to the grand finale at Stanford’s Main Quad.
The annual "Gaieties" musical comedy is a way for Stanford students to celebrate their institution while also making fun of it. Held right before the Big Game (Stanford’s football match against UC Berkeley), the show is known for its irreverent humor and original comedy, singing, and dancing routines.
6. Full Moon on the Quad
One of Stanford’s more risqué traditions, Full Moon on the Quad, is an annual celebration held at Stanford University. Students gather on Main Quad around midnight to engage in passionate kissing. The Junior class cabinet is usually in charge of organizing the celebrations, which typically include live performances of music and dance.
7. Stanford’s Motto
Stanford’s motto is “die luft der freiheit weht,” which is a German phrase that means “the wind of freedom blows.” It was adopted by Stanford’s founding president, David Starr Jordan, in the early 20th century.
8. Legally Blonde
Did you know that the movie/musical "Legally Blonde" has ties to Stanford? Amanda Brown, the author, pulled ideas for this story from her experiences at Stanford Law. Brown drew inspiration from her own time as a fashionable and ambitious law student to create the iconic figure of Elle Woods.
Stanford is known for its excellence in both academics and athletics. Since 1912, Stanford students have captured over 296 Olympic medals. If Stanford was its own country, it would have the 14th most Olympic medals in the world!
10. Stanford’s Memorial Church
The Memorial Church, or "MemChu" as it is popularly called by Stanford students and professors, is a gorgeous building on Stanford’s campus. Finished in 1903, the stunning mosaics, stained glass windows, and ornate brickwork of this cathedral have earned it a reputation for beauty. Around 20,000 multicolored tiles depict scenes from the Bible, but the Church has uses beyond religious purposes. Weddings and concerts are often hosted at MemChu too!
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