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The Rathbun Fund supports the mission of the Office for Religious Life by helping students and others discover and reflect upon issues of meaning and purpose during a time of potentially monumental growth in their character and spirit.

In this day and age when students are increasingly knowledgeable through classroom training and the demands of specializing are intense, students are thirsty for true wisdom. The Rathbun Fund has created both a timeless and timely opportunity to help Stanford deepen the student experience with a focus on thoughtful inquiry, the pursuit of happiness, and a dedication to making the world a better place.

Stanford is ideally suited for this opportunity, given its preeminence in educating world leaders and the emphasis of the university’s founding grant both on public welfare and “qualifying students for personal success and direct usefulness in life.” Leland and Jane Stanford, who were religious, but not committed to any denomination, decreed that the church would stand at the center of campus and also be non-sectarian. Adopting such a philosophy, they felt, would permit the church to serve the broadest spiritual needs of the entire university community—religious and nonreligious. The Stanfords also saw spiritual and moral values as essential to a young person’s education and future citizenship. As such, Stanford’s Office for Religious Life is located in the center of campus and, as one of only a few university-wide offices, plays a significant role as a convener for all members of the Stanford community, across schools and disciplines.