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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

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The Case for a Liberal Education

Despite the enormous success they achieved in their lives, Governor and Mrs. Stanford had come from families of modest means and rose to prominence and wealth through a life of hard work. So it was natural that their first thoughts were to establish an institution where young men and women could "grapple successfully with the practicalities of life." As their thoughts matured, however, these ideas of "practical education" enlarged to the concept of producing cultured and useful citizens who were well prepared for professional success. In a statement of the case for liberal education that was remarkable for its time, Leland Stanford wrote, "I attach great importance to general literature for the enlargement of the mind and for giving business capacity. I think I have noticed that technically educated boys do not make the most successful businessmen. The imagination needs to be cultivated and developed to assure success in life. A man will never construct anything he cannot conceive."

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