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Stanford's Trajectory

Old image of students at Stanford
Meeting the Moment

Building on Stanford's history

The Vision is true to Jane and Leland Stanford’s desire for Stanford to be a purposeful university that educates students to have direct usefulness in life and to promote the public welfare. Since our founding, Stanford has continually evolved to meet the needs of the moment. 

Building excellence and Translating discoveries – A focus on the “steeples of excellence” triggered Stanford’s emergence as a world leader in fundamental research and scholarship. Partnerships with industry and government then expedited the transfer of that knowledge to the marketplace. In this era, Stanford had a foundational role in the inception of Silicon Valley.

Transforming education – Stanford focused on enhancing and rethinking undergraduate and graduate education, and the experience of students on campus.

Transcending boundaries – Stanford broke down the old barriers between academic fields of study with institutes and centers that advanced discovery at the intersection of disciplines, in the process creating a new model for interdisciplinary learning and scholarship.

Accelerating impact – Our Vision is the latest evolution, building on our academic and educational excellence and leveraging a culture of interdisciplinary problem solving to accelerate and scale solutions for challenges facing our health, society and the planet.

Generating those solutions means providing students with the skills to tackle challenges facing us today, and the flexibility to face new challenges that arise in the future. It means embedding the humanities and ethics in the way we approach innovation, and developing novel ways of advancing our understanding of the natural world. It requires embracing and supporting people from all backgrounds and with diverse experiences and ideas in the work that we do. And it means working more closely with outside partners to co-create solutions and scale them to address the world’s most pressing problems.

Stanford will accelerate its impact in the world through initiatives that accelerate Solutions for urgent challenges, enhance our Knowledge of our world and ourselves, advance Education for our students, who are determined to make a difference, and support our Community, which is our faculty, students and staff who underlie our beneficial impact in the world.