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Founders’ Circle

Founders' Circle Guests

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

Connecting Stanford’s past to its future

Stanford Founders' Circle logo

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.

The Founders’ Circle honor roll lists all members who have agreed to be included. For questions about the honor roll, contact Eliza McNulty at emcnulty@stanford.edu or (650) 721-2192.

Frequently asked questions

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Upcoming events

We look forward to being in touch with information about future Founders’ Circle events.

Have an event idea? We'd be delighted to hear from you.

Recognition levels

  • J. E. Wallace Sterling Circle

    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.

  • Ray Lyman Wilbur Circle

    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.


  • David Starr Jordan Circle

    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.


  • Jane and Leland Stanford Circle

    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.


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, October 1891

Jane Stanford

Questions? Get in touch.

Questions or Comments?

We would love to hear from you.

Do you have feedback about your Founders’ Circle membership or your experience as a Stanford supporter? Are you moved to share why you give to Stanford? We would be delighted to hear what is on your mind.

Contact Eliza McNulty, director of donor relations, at emcnulty@stanford.edu or (650) 721-2192.