Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University, is a private research university in Stanford, California in the northwestern Silicon Valley near Palo Alto.
Leland Stanford, former governor of and U.S. senator from California and leading railroad tycoon, and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, founded the university in 1885 in memory of their son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid two months before his 16th birthday in 1884; it opened on October 1, 1891. The university was established as a coeducational and nondenominational institution. Tuition was free until the 1930s. The university struggled financially after Leland 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).