Stanford University
#10 Overall Influence#1 Desirability Rank

Stanford University

Private research university located in Stanford, California, United States

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By James Barham, PhD

Stanford University was founded by Leland Stanford, a wealthy railroad magnate and erstwhile US Senator from California, as well as a former Governor of the Golden State. He placed the university in an unincorporated area about 30 miles south of San Francisco, adjacent to the town of Palo Alto (which he also founded). The campus lies in what is now known as Silicon Valley, which contributes greatly to the immense intellectual and economic influence of the private, research university that still bears the Stanford family name. Today, Stanford University is perhaps the closest thing to a true Ivy League school on the West Coast.

The university can claim more than 80 Nobel laureates among its alumni and its full-time or visiting faculty, including:

  • Carl Wieman in physics
  • Roger Kornberg in chemistry
  • Thomas Südhof in physiology or medicine
  • Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz in economics

Stanford is also the world-leader in Turing Awards (for computer science) with 27 winners, including such luminaries as:

  • Vinton Cerf
  • Whitfield Diffie
  • Edward Feigenbaum
  • Martin Hellman
  • John Hopcroft
  • Donald Knuth
  • Barbara Liskov
  • John McCarthy
  • Allen Newell
  • Ronald Rivest

Another area of particular academic strength for Stanford is mathematics, as evidenced by the school’s eight Fields Medalists, including Maryam Mirzakhani and Akshay Venkatesh.

However, the particular area of strength that really sets Stanford apart from most other schools boasting similar academic firepower is its contribution to the world of business, especially successful start-up companies. Stanford is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires, including:

  • Sergey Brin
  • Elizabeth Holmes
  • Elon Musk
  • Larry Page
  • Peter Thiel

Its alumni have founded companies which combined have created 5.4 million jobs and generate $2.7 trillion in annual revenue (as of 2011). If these Stanford-connected companies were to join together and declare their independence, the country they would form would have the 10th-largest economy in the world!

Stanford is also the alma mater of many famous people from numerous other walks of life, including:

  • 31st President of the US, Herbert Hoover
  • Nobel Prize – winning novelist, John Steinbeck
  • Philosophers, Michael Dummett, Donald Davidson, & John R. Perry
  • Former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor
  • 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination candidates, Cory Booker & Julián Castro
  • Former astronauts, Mae Jemison, Ellen Ochoa, & Sally Ride
  • TV personality, Rachel Maddow
  • Movie stars, Jennifer Connelly, Sigourney Weaver, & Reese Witherspoon

Finally, with a library whose enormous collection contains more than nine million volumes, Stanford is a major research resource for the entire West Coast region across a wide variety of academic fields.

From Wikipedia

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is ranked among the best universities in the world by academic publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than one billion dollars in a year.

Source: Wikipedia


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, Stanford CA 94305

Influential People

Who are Stanford University's Most influential alumni?

Stanford University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of . Stanford University’s most academically influential people include Robert H. Grubbs, W. Brian Arthur, and Jonathan Pollard.

Robert H. Grubbs
Robert H. Grubbs

Nobel prize winning American chemist

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W. Brian Arthur
W. Brian Arthur

American economist

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Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard

U.S. civilian intelligence analyst turned Israeli spy

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Roger Barker

American psychologist

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Derek Bok

American academic administrator and lawyer

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Stephen Walt
Stephen Walt

American political scientist

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Bradley Efron
Bradley Efron

American statistician

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Seth Godin
Seth Godin

American entrepreneur, author and public speaker

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Trevor Hastie
Trevor Hastie


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Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides

Novelist, short story writer, teacher

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Raphael Finkel

American computer scientist

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Bob Sproull
Bob Sproull

American computer scientist

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