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Stanford Report, April 12, 2000

Founders Day salutes three friends of university and enduring campus plan


Stanford's founding family was honored Sunday for its legacy and vision -- as exemplified by those following them and by the university's enduring architecture.

On Founders' Day, tributes were paid to Leland Stanford, Jane Stanford and their son, Leland Stanford Jr., as well as to three recently deceased alumni.

In a keynote address at Memorial Church, Albert H. Hastorf, professor emeritus of psychology, praised former trustee and Hoover Institution board member Morris M. Doyle, former history Professor Gordon Wright and Lisa Capps, who was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley and an author, saying they represented "just the sort of person that the founders hoped the university would produce."

In "A Report to the Founders About a Few People They Should Have Known," Hastorf said he knew the three, all of whom died within the past year or so, in the roles of trustee, faculty colleague and undergraduate student. Hastorf, who became emeritus in 1990, is a former chair of the Department of Psychology, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences and university vice president/provost.

Doyle, in whose name the James Irvine Foundation established a professorship in public policy, was a chairman of the board of trustees, on which he served from 1959 to 1979.

Wright chaired the History Department and was also president of the American Historical Association, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Capps, who died in her mid-30s from lung cancer, came as a nationally recognized competitive swimmer to enroll as an undergraduate at Stanford and later became a gifted educator.

"And so, good friends, we have lost three most remarkable people, but we have been enriched by their presence among us," Hastorf said. "They not only enriched us but also honored our founders."

Earlier, at the Mausoleum ceremony that kicked off the day's program, Paul V. Turner, the Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Professor of Art, said to the crowd of 200 that the university's buildings and grounds have stood the test of time.

"To many people at the time, the plan for the Stanford campus must have appeared grandiose and excessively formal for an educational institution," Turner said.

In "The Stanfords' Vision of Their University: Was It Appropriate?" Turner, who has taught architecture at Stanford since 1972, noted that the 1886 master plan produced by park planner Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Charles Coolidge showed a very modest informal arrangement of small college buildings.

The "immense, sweeping plan that subsequently evolved was essentially the conception of the Stanfords -- and was unlike any earlier design for an American campus," he said.

Turner concluded that the Stanfords created a campus that has improved over time. He called the Quad a place of contemplation and inspiration, "where we can recharge our spirits, in order to return refreshed to the outer world -- a world the Stanfords probably could not imagine, but for which they created an increasingly appropriate campus."

The ceremony at the Mausoleum opened with an invocation by Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, associate dean for religious life, who also gave the concluding benediction. The program included renditions of "Amazing Grace" and the "Stanford Hymn" by Talisman, a student a cappella group.

After President Gerhard Casper placed a wreath inside the Mausoleum, which contains the remains of the three members of the Stanford family, a procession led by a pair of white horses and an original Stanford family carriage carrying Jane and Leland lookalikes wound slowly up Campus and Palm drives.

Along the route, visitors stopped in their tracks and watched in wonder. As the procession neared the Oval, tourists aimed cameras at the capped and gowned marchers. Upon entering Memorial Court, marchers were greeted by scarlet geraniums in full bloom and the lively chords of a banjo being played by a member of a quartet practicing beneath a shady arch.

They stepped into Memorial Church to the majestic sounds of the 1901 Murray-Harris Organ played by university organist Robert Huw Morgan.

Following an invocation by the Rev. D. Maurice Charles, associate dean for religious life, Casper welcomed about 350 visitors. He noted that 100 years ago Jane Stanford established the first scholarship at the university from funds kept in a savings account by Leland Stanford Jr.

Stanford has continued to build on Jane Stanford's foundation in order to make the university accessible to many, Casper said.

Performances by the Memorial Church choir rounded out the program.

About 280 people visited the Mausoleum between 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Founders' Day is the only time the Mausoleum is open to the public. SR