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Century At Stanford

100 YEARS AGO (1903)

President Theodore Roosevelt spoke to an enthusiastic overflow audience at Assembly Hall (now Building 120) in May. He paid tribute to Stanford veterans of the Spanish-American War, talked of the need for college men to volunteer for military service, called on students to spend their lives “in hard labor for great and glorious and useful purposes” and praised the beauty of the campus and its surroundings. Later, Roosevelt visited with Jane Stanford and planted a redwood tree on Serra Street between Encina Hall and the Quad.

In June, Jane Stanford transferred her powers as surviving founder to the University’s Board of Trustees, granting them control of the institution’s management and endowment. In August, she began a journey through Australia, Asia and the Middle East, visiting alumni and collecting objects for the Stanford museum.

75 YEARS AGO (1928)

The Stanford Illustrated Review promoted Herbert Hoover’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. Scrapping its traditional neutral stance, the independent alumni magazine devoted the entire April issue to stories about Hoover, a Stanford trustee who graduated in the Class of 1895, and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover, Class of 1898. In addition to numerous letters of support from alumni, the issue included praise of Hoover by then-president Ray Lyman Wilbur and former president David Starr Jordan.

To facilitate candidate Hoover’s trips to and from his Stanford home, the campus airport and aviation school at the corner of El Camino and Stanford Avenue constructed a 4,000-foot-long runway that would accommodate larger planes, including the 12-passenger trimotor Fokker model loaned to the Hoover campaign by Richfield Oil Co.

50 YEARS AGO (1953)

Botanist Douglas H. Campbell, the last of the 15-member “pioneer faculty” from Stanford’s opening in October 1891, died at his campus home at 93. An expert on mosses and ferns, he was an associate of David Starr Jordan at Indiana University and had followed him west.

The Stanford lab housing the world’s largest electron linear accelerator and most powerful vacuum tubes was reorganized and renamed the W.W. Hansen Laboratories of Physics. It memorialized physics professor William Webster Hansen, ’29, who died at age 39 of a lung disease caused by inhaling the beryllium used in his research.

25 YEARS AGO (1978)

For the first time in intercollegiate tennis history, the men’s and women’s national championships were won by the same school: Stanford.

Math professor Karel deLeeuw was murdered in his office by graduate student Theodore Streleski, who struck him from behind with a small sledgehammer. Streleski turned himself in 12 hours later, claiming the mathematics faculty had unfairly delayed his graduate study. At his trial, he said the murder was “logically and morally correct.” DeLeeuw was a much-loved teacher who only briefly served as Streleski’s adviser; other faculty members were on Streleski’s confessed hit list. After a conviction for second-degree murder, based on diminished mental capacity, Streleski served seven years in prison.


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

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