Century At Stanford

November/December 2000

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100 years ago (1900)

President David Starr Jordan requested the resignation of sociology professor and political activist Edward A. Ross, an outspoken opponent of Japanese immigration who supported public ownership of railroads and other utilities. Ross complied with Jordan's request but told the press he had been dismissed on arbitrary orders of Jane Stanford over Jordan's opposition. His claim that Jane Stanford abridged his academic freedom drew widespread public sympathy and embarrassed the University. She argued that Ross's activities had violated the nonpartisan stance she and her husband had established for the University. She also said she considered Ross a racist. In the years that followed, the controversy over his dismissal contributed to the development of the tenure system nationwide.

California voters ratified the legislature's authority to exempt the University's academic properties from taxation. The statewide ballot measure also validated the trusts and estates specified in Stanford's founding grant. At Jane Stanford's request, George C. Crothers, Class of 1895, managed the successful campaign, which was conducted and funded by the independent Stanford Alumni Association.

A bronze group of figures representing Sen. and Mrs. Stanford and their son, Leland Jr., was placed on a marble pedestal in the center of the Inner Quad courtyard. Modeled in Florence by sculptor Larkin Meade, it portrays Jane Stanford kneeling, with one hand clasping her son's arm. In her memoir, Jane Stanford's secretary, Bertha Berner, said Mrs. Stanford was not very happy with the sculpture, now located next to the family mausoleum.

75 years ago (1925)

The Graduate School of Business opened in September with about two dozen students and four full-time faculty members, plus part-time faculty from other departments. It was the nation's second graduate business school, after Harvard. Proposed by University trustee Herbert Hoover, Class of 1895, the school was financed by several Western businessmen. Willard E. Hotchkiss, a leader in business education, was appointed dean.

50 years ago (1950)

Stanford hired the San Francisco planning-engineering firm of Punnett-Parez & Hutchinson to draw up a master plan recommending uses of the University's 7,000 undeveloped acres. President J.E. Wallace Sterling said the plan would be prepared in consultation with officials of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo.

25 years ago (1975)

Gerald Ford spoke at the September 21 dedication of the new Law School, marking the first campus visit by a U.S. president since the days of Herbert Hoover. In San Francisco the next day, political activist Sara Jane Moore fired a revolver at Ford, but missed when a bystander struck her arm. She later said she had wanted to stage the assassination attempt at Stanford.

Education professor emeritus Paul Hanna and his wife, Jean, donated their campus home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to the University. Built in 1937 on Frenchman's Road, Hanna House was Wright's first--some say best--use of the hexagonal honeycomb form.

Linda Beth Bammann, a 19-year-old sophomore, became Stanford's first woman firefighter. For more than 50 years, Stanford students helped work their way through school by serving as firefighters alongside professionals.

Karen Bartholomew, '71, writes this column on behalf of the Stanford Historical Society.

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