N 1896, FIVE YEARS AFTER STANFORD opened its doors, David Starr Jordan published a book entitled The Care and Culture of Men. Its subtitle was "A Series of Addresses on the Higher Education." The book's title was taken from a quote by Emerson that appeared also on the front page as a motto: "The best political economy is the care and culture of men."
The anthology comprised various speeches by President Jordan, some going back to his days at Indiana University. The title had previously been used for an address to Stanford's "pioneer class," the class of 1895. The address highlighted the importance of education fitted to individual needs. It stressed education as strengthening individual character, "the growth of the power of choice." Said Jordan: "The best political economy is the care and culture of men. The best spent money of the present is that which is used for the future. The university stands for the future."
Jordan's talk strongly partakes of Emerson's philosophical idealism, which sees the culture of men and women as self-cultivation. To quote Emerson: "His own culture--the unfolding of his nature, is the chief end of man." Jordan strongly shared Emerson's belief but also made the case for the university as the vehicle toward attainment of that goal. To put it differently, for Jordan the university is "the best political economy."
My title obviously is a play on Jordan. If the university is "the best political economy" then, to provide for its care, its cares must be better understood. The fact of the matter is that universities, especially private universities, are among the most complex and complicated institutions that exist in human culture. They have many cares, each one of them calling for a genuine effort to understand. The attempt I have made in this report is to unfold a few of the complexities and to detail how Stanford addresses its main concerns.