Chapter XVII. From La Escuela of Spanish California to the Schools of the Twentieth Century

This university started with a large endowment, but after the death of Mr. Stanford, a lawsuit with the United States, and a shrinkage in the value of the properties it owned, ran the finances so low that for a short time it was found necessary to charge a small entrance fee. Even then, the college was kept open only through the economy and self-sacrifice of Mrs. Stanford and the members of the faculty, who stood by the institution with noble unselfishness. By the year 1906 the financial condition had become satisfactory and the attendance had materially increased. Two handsome new buildings, one for the library and the other for the gymnasium, were about completed when, on April 18, an earthquake, the most destructive ever experienced on the Pacific coast, shook all the region around San Francisco Bay. Stanford suffered severely: the two new buildings were ruined; so, too, was the museum and a portion of the chemistry building. Both the noble arch and the mosaics in the front of the memorial chapel were destroyed. Beyond this, comparatively little damage was done to the college buildings. The graduating exercises were postponed until the fall term; otherwise the disaster did not interfere seriously with the routine of study, neither did it affect the attendance in 1906-7, which was unusually large. In the fall of 1907 President Jordan stated that he was empowered to announce that Thomas Weldon Stanford, brother of Senator Leland Stanford, had decided to give the university his own large fortune of several millions.

It is generally recognized that the university owes a great part of its present success to the splendid talents and faithfulness of President Jordan, who has given the hardest labor of the best years of his busy life to helping it onward and upward. Its educational work is thorough, and its requirements are being steadily raised. It stands for the highest education that is possible. Addition is constantly being made to its group of noble buildings. Beautiful Stanford is the sparkling jewel in California's diadem.

Not far from the University of California in the suburbs of Oakland is situated Mills College, which for many years was the only advanced school for girls of which the state could boast. This institution had its beginning as a seminary in Benicia, but was moved to its present situation in 1871. In 1885 it became a college with a state charter. In plan of studies and high Christian aim, it resembles Mount Holyoke, from which many of its leading instructors have been graduated.

There is no place here to speak of all the leading private schools of the state. Throop Polytechnic in Pasadena, the Thatcher School in the valley of the Ojai, and Belmont Military Academy are among the best. A word, however, must be said in tribute to Santa Clara College, without which the California youth of from twenty to forty years ago would have been lacking in that higher education which stands for so much in the making of a state. Incorporated in 1851, it was opened with funds amounting to but one hundred and fifty dollars, yet it grew steadily. With a clever Jesuit faculty, this college has done admirable work of so thorough a character as to win the praise of all those who have come in contact with its results. From it have been graduated such men as Stephen M. White, Reginaldo del Valle, and many other of our leading professional and business men.