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Stanford University- Stanford, CA

US 101

These past weeks, or perhaps I should say this past school year, has soared right past me; and suddenly, the business that I have attended to for now has abruptly closed, and half of 2011 has passed by! The time of year where the senior class for high schools and higher level institutions has arrived, and right now for them is a time to think not only about their present day situation, but to also think about their future. Graduation for Arcadia High's class of 2011 was just yesterday, and provided plenty of inspiration towards the graduating class as well as the audience through the speeches.

Like the speeches at any commencement ceremony, colleges and universities are also quite inspirational. My visit to Stanford University was likewise very much so; and with this special time of year, I am starting yet another trip series but this time, not from the beginning.

Graduate School of Business

It was a brilliant day to head outside on our second day of the trip; the temperature was cool and slightly windy, but it was still sunny. We followed intently to our vehicle's GPS, and after about a 30 minute drive from San Francisco, we had arrived at Stanford. But why were we not at the main entrance? Somehow, the GPS decided the location of Stanford is at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford instead. I wonder why!

Hoover Tower Detail
Hoover Tower

We headed out towards the main quad on Stanford's campus, during which we passed by the Hoover Tower. It was certainly a great day for pictures- there were not too many people on campus, and the weather and landscape was in prime condition! Everything was so beautiful.

Prospective students (like me) should head towards the student visitor center to take student-led tours and to attend information sessions. I instead went along a half completed campus tour instead, not knowing that special tours and information sessions were available in the first place. 

Stanford University Map

The map was in pristine condition, with clear markings and no graffiti. From what I know, this isn't very typical in colleges and universities, as most are damaged instead.

Totem Pole

The inclusion of this large totem pole in a lush area of campus was quite interesting. 
Stanford Architecture

Walking towards the center of the campus, the signature red roof and sandstone architecture came closer and closer to view. A closer look revealed many more architectural details.

Lane History Corner

For example, the Lane History Corner; not only was there an arch and a sculpture, there were multiple pattern inlays that are truly beautiful. Much attention was definitely paid towards the creation of these buildings.

Stanford Architecture

The long covered walkways provided a sequence of arches, columns, and lights which was fun to photograph.

Trophy/Hoover Tower Backdrop
Stanford Lamps

There were many other repeating elements at Stanford, like this long row of columns, lamps, and trophies.

Grass/Palm Drive

Looking outwards towards Palm Drive, we watched people enjoy themselves in the large, green lawn. The circle in the middle of the picture actually has an "S" in it--an intriguing way to show that one has arrived at Stanford.

I happened to saw some Stanford students guiding student tours at this area and so I joined here. However, for the best experience, one should start their visit by heading towards the Student Visitor Center where the tours begin. By here, the tour had covered approximately half of the campus.
If you happen to be a prospective student or just someone interested in Stanford, you should definitely take these student tours (not just at Stanford, but any school you are interested in)! The guides gave lots of interesting facts about Stanford and a through rundown on academics and school life. And there is a special gift they let you know about...beneficial if you plan on purchasing something! Definitely --it's a great way not only to learn about Stanford but also an enjoyable walking experience.

Stanford Engineering
Stanford Engineering
Stanford Engineering

We walked past several history and science buildings. Our tour guide told us that the buildings in the science section were built separately from each other with some distance in between. This way, if a lab suddenly catches on fire, there will be a smaller possibility in the fire spreading. It also explains why Chemistry is located near the front of the school, separated from the rest of the buildings.

The pictures above are several of the engineering buildings (part of the Engineering Quad). These buildings are much more modern and might seem familiar at other universities, but they still happen to flow very cohesively with the rest of the buildings at Stanford with the color scheme.

Memorial Church Entry
Memorial Church Detail
Memorial Church- Organ

We then walked back to the main quad and entered the Memorial Church, another elegant piece of architecture. Our tour guide explained that it is not unusual to have events happening in the church, but it happened to be during our visit that it was not being used; therefore, everyone went in and took plenty of pictures and videos in silence.

Graduating Class Tiles

Outside the church were some numbers, symbolizing the graduating class years. The 1895 year of graduates (the first of Stanford) wanted to make their year stand out and so they would paint everything with “95.” Thus a plaque was installed with 95, and then later more were added so that the numbers started from when Stanford was established as an university.

After visiting the church, we headed towards White Memorial Plaza.

Bell Tower
Mechanics- Bell Tower

On the way there, we walked pass the clock which had bells from the original church which rang every 15 minutes.

Stanford Engineering
Stanford Wide Shot
(I think this could be a postcard!)

Nearby was also a “ring of death,” basically a roundabout which in the past had Stanford Band members who directing bike traffic. Now it’s just a garden scape and there are no bicycle crashes. Speaking of bicycles, our tour guide noted that there are more bikes registered than students, and that freshmen undergraduate students can not have a car the first year due to space constraints.

Hoover Tower Backdrop
Claw Fountain

At White Memorial Plaza, we saw the Claw Fountain, which had red on top. It is actually a symbol of college rivalry according to our guide; a stuffed bear (for UC Berkeley) would be placed on top of the claw and it would be painted red!

Stanford Trees

Our tour guide ended the tour here while providing us some more information and allowing questions to be answered.We had lunch on campus at Subway, where the prices were actually increased compared to other locations. Foot-long sandwiches started at six dollars instead of five. Either way, the food was as expected for Subway--no special menu items for Stanford. However, I found the meatball marinara to be more flavorful. Maybe I was just really hungry!

An additional plus eating at Stanford was environmental friendliness-- the utensils available were biodegradable and the plastic cups were made out of corn!

Stanford Bookstore
Claw Fountain
Memorial Church

After lunch we headed back towards our vehicle, stopping by the Stanford Bookstore, Claw Fountain, and the Memorial Church on the way.

Memorial Church + Thank You Sunny

We also noticed a "Thank You Sunny" phrase written in chalk while walking at the church.

Palm Drive

And sadly, we had to leave campus. I wish I had more time to cover the entire campus, to take more pictures, and to enjoy the architectural beauty of Stanford, but we had to attend an event that brought me to the Bay area in the first place!

I left campus inspired by not only the architecture and design of Stanford, but also the warm feeling produced by the students's actions while I was there. It was an awesome visit, and I hope to visit someday again. This is the reason why I include colleges and universities in the "attractions" section of the blog; they are wonderful places to visit during a trip: perfect for picture taking, learning about a destination, and gaining some exercise while at it.

Stanford University
450 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Find the rest of the posts in this series at this trip's TRIP INDEX.
(Edited October 28, 2011 for conciseness.)