On June 12, Stanford marks its 125th commencement, with documentarian Ken Burns giving what will, no doubt, be an appropriately history-minded address. For the benefit of all those visiting family members, as well as the simply Cardinal-curious, we’ve gathered a list of Stanford “bests” to see and do.
Best views: Sure, the top of Hoover Tower offers a lovely view of campus. But for a view that stretches from San Jose all the way to San Francisco, join the joggers at the Dish, a four-mile paved, very hilly loop that traverses the cow pastures surrounding the university’s radio telescope. (Hence the name.)
Photo Courtesy of David Baron/Flick
Best art stop: The Anderson Collection, 121 modern paintings and sculptures given to the university by the Anderson family, occupies a sleek new building next to the Cantor Art Center. Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn…the gang’s all here.
Photo Courtesy of Tim Griffiths
Best lunch spot: Not to downplay the importance of the Cantor—by all means, don’t miss the Rodins and the current exhibitions “Blood in the Sugar Bowl” and “An Oasis in Glass”—but this is also where you want to take a break. Our choice: ham and cheddar and tomato chutney on a baguette, all organic, of course.
Auguste Rodin, The Three Shades, 1881-83 and 1901-02. Bronze, cast 1980. Gift of the B. Gerald Cantor Collection, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. Photo Courtesy of Jim Gasperini
Best plan-ahead tour: Seeing as the two-mile-long SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is operated by Stanford on behalf of the Department of Energy, it makes sense that they don’t really like drop-in visitors. The twice-monthly guided tours let you see inside the 1962 facility, where six Nobel prizes were earned. (You can see the accelerator from Interstate 280, though—look to the right as you drive south between the Woodside Road and Sand Hill Road exits.)
Photo Courtesy of SLAC: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Best wayfinding: Thanks to another Bay Area obsessive, 150,000 rare, antique maps are now part of the university’s Green Library as of April, when the David Rumsey Map Center opened. It’s not just for researchers, though—anyone can visit in the afternoons.
Photo Courtesy of Stanford University
Best music venue: Another recent addition to the Stanford cultural scene, Bing Concert Hall hosts the so-very-Stanford ensemble called SLOrk (the Stanford Laptop Orchestra) on June 2. For a less computer-mediated experience, the St. Lawrence String Quartet offers three free lunchtime chamber-music concerts the week of June 20.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goldberg