Universities: Palo Alto in Europe

A mile-long driveway through fields full of pheasants leads to the 365-room Tudor mansion of Lancaster stone in the Lincolnshire countryside, 100 miles from London. Inside Harlaxton Manor, the glow of a 15-foot crystal chandelier reflects from marble floors in a 134-year-old room, once a Jesuit chapel. And on the great staircase, a leggy young blonde from Stanford University remarks: "Gee, nobody but nobody gets to live in a place like this."

Yet somebody does: 50 Stanford men, aged 17 to 22, now occupy the huge mansion's west wing, and 30 Stanford coeds live in the east wing. For the next...

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