Happy Birthday, Stanford University!

On November 11, 1885, former California Governor Leland Stanford and his wife founded a university on ranch land south of San Francisco.  Leland Stanford Junior University was named after their only son, who had died of typhoid fever a year earlier at the age of 15.  Because they could no longer do anything for their own child, the Stanfords decided that “the children of California shall be our children.”

Stanford University opened six years later in 1891.  It was unique at the time for being both coeducational and non-denominational.  A New York newspaper scoffed that the west-coast professors would “lecture in marble halls to empty benches.”  Today, Stanford is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

In the 1930s, Stanford engineering professor Frederick Terman encouraged his students to start their own companies.  Two of them, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, took his advice and established Hewlett-Packard, the predecessor company of Agilent Technologies.  It was the birth of Silicon Valley.  Today, visitors at Agilent’s corporate headquarters can enter through Terman Lane.

Since the 1930s, Stanford alumni have created 39,900 companies including HP, Cisco Systems, Google, Nike, Sun Microsystems, Intuit, Instagram and Yahoo!  The total annual revenues from these companies would constitute the 10th largest economy in the world.

Agilent’s partnership with the university goes back more than 75 years, from our days as part of HP.  Stanford has been designated as an “Agilent Key University,” one of only four in the world.  This reflects our history, proximity, alumni ties and vibrant ongoing research collaborations.  We participate in and support major Stanford research initiatives in areas such as bioengineering, biomedical measurement and early detection of cancer.

“Stanford is a forefront customer of Agilent products, often pioneering the use of our instruments and reagents in new ways,” says Agilent’s Jim Hollenhorst.  “In addition, Stanford continues to be a major source of new employees who bring tremendous energy, intelligence and creativity to our company.”


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