Stanford is a native of Akron, Ohio, and attended public schools there. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Business Administration. A C.P.A., he held the position of chief financial officer of a manufacturing company. Stanford briefly taught accounting at the Salem branch of Kent State University. Since college he has extensively read most of the current historians such as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robert Dallek, William Manchester, Walter Isaacson, and David McCullough.