Leland and Jane Stanford wisely decreed in their Founding Grant that the lands which they were giving to the University should never be sold. The result of this endowment, together with additional acreage purchased subsequently, increased the University's land-holding to the current size of 8,180 acres.
The Founders intended that the land should be used to further the University's academic objectives. When the Board of Trustees gathered for the first time in the library of the couple's San Francisco home, now-Senator Stanford told them,
- “The endowment of lands is made because they are, in themselves, of great value, and their proper management will insure to the University an income much greater than would be realized were their value to be invested in any reliable, interest-bearing security.”
Income for the University was originally limited to grazing and agricultural leases until after World War II, when the population exploded and the electronic industry boomed on the San Francisco Peninsula. At the same time, Stanford enrollment had nearly doubled its pre-war figure. To meet national and University opportunities, the trustees turned to the land development program envisioned by Mr. Stanford himself many years earlier.