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Stanford Report, April 5, 2000

Family likeness to get proper viewing, weather permitting

Photo: L.A. Cicero

Just off to the east of the final resting place of Stanford's founding family, a sculpture of their images, which has stood at several university sites, now can be viewed in its permanent home.

Located off to the side of the mausoleum, the Stanford family statue stands beneath the shady branches of an oak tree and will be partly visible -- and perhaps familiar -- to those who attend the mausoleum ceremony April 9. It was installed prior to Founders' Day 1999, but since last year's mausoleum ceremony was moved to the Quad because of rain, many of Sunday's visitors may be seeing the statue at its new spot for the first time.

This is the latest of several campus locations for the bronze sculpture, which once stood in Memorial Court and most recently in the Facilities Operations yard at Bonair Siding. There, "it kind of overlooked ground workers as they ate lunch every day," said Michael Fox, supervising special projects manager. "It's been everywhere," said Bernard Barryte, associate director of the Cantor Arts Center.

It depicts the two standing Lelands, Sr. and Jr., and a kneeling Jane. The latter pose has not set well with people who think the sculpture shows Jane in a subservient position.

That view isn't shared by Laura Jones, campus archeologist, who like many others is familiar with Jane's commitment to woman suffrage and her pioneering efforts in establishing Stanford as a co-educational university at a time when others didn't admit women.

Also, Jones points out, Jane Stanford paid for the commemorative portrait created by Larkin G. Meade in the late 1800s. "It was her choice to be on her knees," Jones figures. The sculpture has Leland Jr. holding a tablet inscribed with the message "dedicated to science and the good of humanity."

The sculpture is reached by following a path edged by a leafy groundcover capped with blue blossoms. SR