- Vivian Hendriksz |
Philip Knight, the co-founder of US sportswear giant Nike, has donated 400 million US dollars to Stanford University to launch a new, graduate scholars program which aims to prepare the next generation of leaders with the skills needed to address the "complex challenges" currently faced.
The donation is the largest monetary contribution given by an single individual to Stanford, reported the university on Wednesday. The new program Knight-Hennessy, named after Philip Knight, an alumnus and the university's president, John L. Hennessy, is said to build on the university's current position within the higher educational scoop. Knight is a long-time supporter of university, donating to the graduate school of business and providing supported for endowed professorships and athletics. With a total of 750 million US dollar endowment, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars will be the largest fully gifted scholarship program in the world.
The new program will admit 100 high-achieving students per year, who demonstrate leadership and civic commitment and are nominated by their undergraduate universities. The program aims to select students from a range of backgrounds nationalities, who upon admittance to the program will receive funding for three years to pursue master's or doctorate level degrees, or professional programs. In addition, the students will also receive lessons in leadership, innovation as well as other curricula to develop capacity to lead change.
"We wanted to create something enduring, that would be unlike anything else currently available to the world's brightest minds, and that would make the biggest impact possible toward solving global challenges affecting the environment, health, education and human rights," said Stanford President John Hennessy, who will serve as the program's inaugural director after stepping down from his current role as president. "We will bring together outstanding, courageous scholars to benefit from Stanford's innovative educational environment, who then go on to lead governments, businesses, nonprofits and other complex organizations and develop creative solutions to effect positive change."
A team of faculty advisors will help oversee admission to the program as well as curriculum criteria, which will be available from winter 2017. The university is set to begin accepting applications from interested scholars in summer 2017, and admit its first scholars in time for autumn, 2018. "John and I dream of a future 20, 30 or 50 years from now, when thousands of graduates – who can think outside the box as skilled problem-solvers – will be working together for a more peaceful, habitable world," said Knight. "The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is a fitting tribute to John, one of the great academic leaders of our time."