History of the Founders' Celebration
Founders Celebration commemorates the founding of the University and
the legacy of the Stanford family. Senator Stanford originally instated Founders Day
in 1891 (then referred to as "Memorial Day" and susequently "Founders' Day") to honor the founding of the University and Leland Stanford,
Jr. After Senator Stanfords death in 1893, the focus of the celebration
shifted to honor the senator himself. Over the years, this day has retained
its original intent of honoring the Stanfords and has expanded to encompass
an evolving conception of the University.
Speakers such as William James (1906) and Wallace Stegner (1991)
have commemorated the contributions of the Stanfords since the
inception of the Founders Celebration
events. More recently students have been asked to participate
in the festivities by writing about what the founding of the
University means to them. Founders Celebration is an opportunity
for all members of the Stanford communitystudents, faculty,
with members of neighboring communities to join in celebration of the success
of Jane and Leland Stanfords dream to establish a "university of
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Did You Know?
- Leland Stanford was elected Governor of the State
of California at age 37.
- Leland Stanford was 44 years of age and Jane was
39 when Leland Stanford, Jr. was born.
- Leland Jr.s name was originally Leland DeWitt
Stanford. The boy later took the name Leland Stanford Jr.
- The first showing of "motion pictures" took
place in Leland and Jane Stanfords Palo Alto home in 1879. Eadweard
Muybridge used his "zoopraxiscope" to
project images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the
impression of motion.
- During the heyday of the Palo Alto Stock Farm
Leland Stanford sold a horse (an offspring of Electioneer, the leading
sire of the Palo Alto Stock Farm) to J. Malcolm Forbes for what at the
time was the highest price ever paid for a trotter. The price was estimated
to be around $100,000.
- His parents from an early age encouraged Leland
Jr.s interest in
history, mathematics, and engineering. He built a miniature-working railroad
near the family home at the Palo Alto Stock Farm.
- Leland Jr. collected artifacts and antiquities
during his travels. These items were to be the nucleus of a museum he
planned to establish someday in San Francisco. In fact his collection
formed the basis of the museum established on campus.
- Leland Jr.s original resting place was not
at the Mausoleum but at a site over near the old Childrens Hospital/Ronald
McDonald House where the Stanfords home was located.
- When Leland Sr.s estate was tied up in probate
Jane Stanford was granted $10,000 a month by the court for maintenance
of her several households. She reduced her expenses and gave all but
$350 to President Jordan to pay faculty salaries and fund operations
in order to keep the University open.
- Jane Stanford served as President of the Board of Trustees.