History of Stanford

The Twenty-first Century

We live in an increasingly interconnected world that faces complex problems on a global scale. At the start of the 21st century, Stanford is uniquely prepared among universities – by its breadth of scholarship, entrepreneurial heritage and pioneering faculty – to provide research and real-world approaches to address many of these issues.

In 2006, the university embarked upon an ambitious five-year, $4.3 billion campaign, The Stanford Challenge, to ensure that Stanford continues to educate future leaders and to find solutions to the most pressing global challenges. The scholarly initiatives at the heart of the campaign focus on the environment, international relations, human health, the arts and K-12 education.

One of the early and outstanding successes of the campaign was the establishment of the Woods Institute for the Environment, housed in the landmark Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building (Y2E2), an innovative "green" structure that opened in 2008.

The era of globalization means many things for Stanford: research on issues such as international security, exchanges with foreign universities, overseas opportunities for undergraduates, and collaboration with colleagues worldwide. In the area of human health, Stanford is conducting pioneering research in stem cells, bioengineering, regenerative medicine, neuroscience and cancer treatment. Stanford is also expanding its commitment to the arts by creating a new "Arts District" on campus, anchored by the existing Cantor Arts Center and the Bing Concert Hall, a new performing arts center which opened in 2013.

"When Jane and Leland Stanford founded this university, they were investing in the future," President John Hennessy has noted. "Stanford University continues to do just that. We can't predict, but we can ensure that our students will be the most knowledgeable of leaders, that they will make a difference and that they will creatively and skillfully guide the next century of progress and excellence."