Read Jane Stanford’s ungiven speech in honor of her birthday

JANE STANFORD‘s birthday is Aug. 25, and the university founder would have been 188 years old.

Jane Stanford
Jane Stanford

When Stanford opened 125 years ago this Oct. 1, both co-founders prepared remarks for the opening ceremony. LELAND STANFORD read a 2,000-word talk that touched on the role of education in society, the dignity of labor and the inefficiency of Europe’s standing armies. He was, after all, a politician.

But Jane Stanford opted not to give her speech. She later explained, “I did not have the courage on the opening day of the university so important in our lives.”

But she had worthwhile things to say. Unlike her husband, who wrote with a rhetorical flourish and could sound impersonal, Mrs. Stanford used the occasion to advise the new students how to live their dreams.

In honor of her birthday, the team at the 125th anniversary celebration office is sharing those remarks in the hopes neither she nor her wise words are forgotten.

They offer, for example, the following two quotes:

“Each example of a good student will have an undying influence. ”

“There is only one failure for you and that is not to be true to the best you know.”

Read Jane Stanford’s typescript of her undelivered speech, with notes in her own hand.

Visit the 125th anniversary pages to learn more.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Stanford.