Stanford University (officially Leland Stanford Junior University, colloquially the Farm) is a private research university in Stanford, California, in Silicon Valley, 20 miles (30 km) outside of San Jose. Because of its academic strength, wealth, and proximity to Silicon Valley, Stanford is often cited as one of the world's most prestigious universities.
The university 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 was a former Governor of California and U.S. Senator; he made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution.
Stanford University struggled financially after Leland Stanford's death in 1893 and again 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 later be known as Silicon Valley. The university is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.
The university is organized around three traditional schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate and graduate level and four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in Law, Medicine, Education and Business. Stanford's undergraduate program is one of the top three most selective in the United States. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 115 NCAA team championships, the most for a university (one more than UCLA), 483 individual championships, and has won the NACDA Directors' Cup for 23 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.
As of March 2018, 81 Nobel laureates, 27 Turing Award laureates,[note 1] and 7 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty or staff. Stanford faculty and alumni have founded a large number of companies, these companies produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue. It is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.