In 1876, former California Governor Leland Stanford purchased 650 acres of Rancho San Francisquito for a country home and began the development of his famous Palo Alto Stock Farm. He later bought adjoining properties totaling more than 8,000 acres.
After Leland Stanford’s death in 1893, the university entered a period of financial and legal uncertainties resulting from federal challenges to his estate. During that time, Jane Stanford took over the responsibility of ensuring that the new university would prosper.
In 1939, with the encouragement of their professor and mentor, Frederick Terman, Stanford alumni David Packard and William Hewlett established a little electronics company in a Palo Alto garage. That garage would later be dubbed "the Birthplace of Silicon Valley."
The post-war years were a time of tremendous growth and change as Stanford expanded its national reputation as a leading university. A record 8,223 students showed up for class in Fall 1947, including many former soldiers taking advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights.
The 21st century has proven to be a period of rapid change, with growing demands on research institutions like Stanford, which was founded on the idea that teaching and research could—and should—benefit society.