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Century at Stanford

By Karen Bartholomew

100 years ago (1900)

Major campus construction was under way, most of it instigated by Jane Stanford: Memorial Church, a large chemistry building near the Oval, a post office on Lasuen Street (razed in 1960), science buildings on the Outer Quad and four duplex residences for faculty. Charles Lathrop, Jane's brother and the University's business manager, was finishing a grand residence on a 17-acre knoll overlooking campus (razed in 1954 for the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences). Fraternities also were busy adding houses to Lasuen Row.

On May 14, commemorating what would have been her son's 32nd birthday, Jane Stanford donated her Sacramento mansion to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for use as an orphanage. Today, the site is being restored as the Stanford Mansion State Historic Park.

75 years ago (1925)

Boaters and swimmers enjoyed Lagunita after heavy winter rains. The men's boathouse had been remodeled, and the women -- whose boathouse burned down the year before -- were given the top floor.

Having reached age 65, the last of the "Old Guard" original faculty retired: botanist Douglas H. Campbell, zoologist Charles H. Gilbert, mechanical engineer Leander M. Hoskins and zoologist George C. Price. Along with economist and registrar Orrin Leslie Elliott, who also retired that year, they had been recruited in 1891 by David Starr Jordan.

50 years ago (1950)

Lucie Stern Hall was dedicated in May. Housing 227 undergraduate men in four wings, the new dorm had opened the previous fall. Alumni decried its slate-gray color and lack of a red-tile roof.

H. Donald Winbigler was named dean of students, replacing Lawrence A. Kimpton, who left for the University of Chicago. Winbigler had joined the speech and drama faculty in 1940; five years later, he became Stanford's third registrar. After 17 years as dean of students, he served as academic secretary until his retirement in 1974. He spearheaded celebrations of the University's half-century and centennial.

25 years ago (1975)

Insurgents from Zaire kidnapped three Stanford students and a research assistant May 19 from a research center in Tanzania where the four worked with anthropologist Jane Goodall. The kidnappers, followers of Laurent Kabila, demanded ransom of $460,000, arms and the release of political prisoners from Tanzania. After prolonged negotiations and a ransom payment, the rebels released all four unharmed, the last in late July.

Five years after replacing "D" and "F" grades with "no credit," the Faculty Senate restored the "D" for undergraduates. A faculty-student committee unanimously recommended the reversal to combat grade inflation and to make the "C" more respectable.

Commencement speaker Daniel Patrick Moynihan, recently appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, predicted that an eventual détente between the two major nuclear powers would halt the worldwide spread of nuclear arms.

In a budget-cutting move, the administration decided to eliminate Stanford's undergraduate program in architecture.


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

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