Stanford University

Founders’ Circle: Connecting Stanford’s Past to Its Future

Jane and Leland Stanford envisioned a great institution serving countless generations. That vision has been realized largely because a dedicated few shared their foresight and generosity.

Through the Founders’ Circle, the university recognizes alongside Jane and Leland Stanford those whose lifetime giving has surpassed $1 million. Of Stanford’s 200,000 alumni, parents, and friends, fewer than 1,300 have achieved this distinction.

Your generosity connects you with Stanford’s founders and plays a vital role in shaping Stanford’s future.

View the Honor Roll

The Founders’ Circle honor roll lists all members who have agreed to be included. For questions about the honor roll, contact, 650.721.2192.

Levels of Recognition

Jane and Leland Stanford Circle
Gifts of $100 million or more
Jane and Leland Stanford devoted their fortune to building a university that would endure, trusting that others would take up this great work so that generations of students and scholars could in turn devote themselves to advancing human knowledge and welfare.
David Starr Jordan Circle
Gifts of $50 million to $99.9 million
David Starr Jordan was Stanford’s first president, tasked by the founders with helping launch a university in California. He served in that role from 1891 to 1913 and then as chancellor until his retirement in 1916.
Ray Lyman Wilbur Circle
Gifts of $10 million to $49.9 million
Ray Lyman Wilbur graduated from Stanford in 1897. He went on to serve as dean of Stanford School of Medicine, as Stanford’s third president, and then as chancellor of the university. When he retired in 1943, he had devoted 27 years to the institution.
J. E. Wallace Sterling Circle
Gifts of $1 million to $9.9 million
J. E. Wallace Sterling served as Stanford’s fifth president from 1949 to 1968, and as chancellor until 1985. During his tenure, Stanford reached national prominence through his efforts to hire top scholars and attract the best students in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Founders’ Circle?
The Founders’ Circle is a recognition society that celebrates those donors who have given at least $1 million cumulatively to Stanford University during their lifetimes.
Am I in Founders’ Circle?
If you have given a total of $1 million or more to Stanford University, the university recognizes you as a member of the Founders’ Circle and, with your approval, lists your name, along with those of your generous peers, on the honor roll.
Which gifts count toward Founders’ Circle eligibility?
Annual gifts, restricted and unrestricted gifts, endowed gifts, and pledge payments (but not pledges themselves) to any part of the university are counted in the lifetime giving total.
For whom are the giving levels named?
Stanford has named the giving levels for individuals who had a profound and far-reaching impact on the university and contributed to its growth.
Is the Founders’ Circle different from the Founding Grant Society?
Yes. The Founding Grant Society celebrates those who have made a bequest or planned gift to Stanford. The Founders’ Circle recognizes giving during a donor’s lifetime.
Whom do I contact if I have questions or want more information?
Eliza McNulty, Director of Donor Relations
"Students. . . I hope your lives will be truly earnest, not in the sense of going forth to acquire great wealth and great names; but to be conscientious workers, to be helpful to others, to send cheer and goodwill to those who need lifting up, and to always follow the Golden Rule."
—Jane Stanford, from her undelivered speech for the university’s opening day, October 1891


Founders’ Circle Day

Thank you to our honored guests who attended Founders’ Circle Day on June 1, 2019. We hope you enjoyed connecting with each other as well as engaging in activities and discussions around Stanford’s future plans. We truly appreciated having you on campus!

Upcoming Events

We look forward to being in touch with information about future Founders’ Circle events. Have an idea? Please let us know by contacting Eliza McNulty, Director of Donor Relations,

We Would Love to Hear from You

Your feedback about your Founders’ Circle membership or your experience as a Stanford supporter is welcome. You are also invited to share your inspiration for giving with fellow members.

Contact Eliza McNulty, Director of Donor Relations,, 650.721.2192.