The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California, on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. It is situated in the northwestern Silicon Valley, approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of San Jose and 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco. In the 2013 admissions cycle, Stanford was the most selective large American University, with a rate under 5.7%, surpassing eastern Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Stanford is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in the United States and the world.
Leland Stanford, Governor of and U.S. Senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, founded the university in 1891 in memory of their son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid two months before his 16th birthday. The university was established as a coeducational and nondenominational institution. Tuition was free until the 1930s. The university struggled financially after the senior Stanford's 1893 death and 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 become known as Silicon Valley. By 1970, Stanford was home to a linear accelerator, and was one of the original four ARPANET nodes (precursor to the internet).