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About Overview

About Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Knight-Hennessy Scholars will prepare a new generation of leaders with a deep academic foundation and the broad skill set to develop creative solutions to effect positive change in the world.

Numerous intersecting challenges confront the world today: widening gaps in opportunity and income; declining livability caused by population growth and environmental degradation; social instability owing to structural inequality and intergroup conflicts; persistent human health challenges despite rapidly rising costs. The world needs leaders in government, business, and nonprofits who can creatively address society’s thorniest problems.

Stanford University - with seven world-class graduate schools that foster service, collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship - is uniquely positioned to fill this need. The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will empower an exceptional cohort of graduate students to effect large-scale positive impact across the globe.

How We Got Started

Through the generosity of alumnus Phil Knight, MBA ’62, philanthropist, American businessman and co-founder of Nike Inc., and numerous benefactors, the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship Program offers a transformative experience comprised of opportunities for leadership development, mentorship, and immersive interdisciplinary experiential learning.

The program is named for Mr. Knight and former Stanford President John Hennessy, who served as Stanford University’s 10th president from 2000 to 2016.

President emeritus Hennessy, who is the academic architect and visionary behind the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, serves as the program’s inaugural Shriram Family Director.

Global Reach and Impact

Knight-Hennessy Scholars will think beyond silos to effect positive change and solve complex problems. Over the years, as the number of Knight-Hennessy Scholars increases and each class matures professionally, the contributions of the collective group will expand and positively impact an even greater number of people around the world.

In 50 years, there will be 5,000 Knight-Hennessy Scholars at various stages of your careers developing creative solutions to effect positive change, as leaders in governments, the arts, NGOs, businesses, and elsewhere.

Funded to Last

With founding gifts totaling more than $750 million, Knight Hennessy Scholars is the largest fully endowed graduate fellowship in the world. Every year, up to 100 exceptional students across Stanford’s graduate programs will receive full funding comprising tuition, on-campus room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, a stipend, and more. 

Learn more about funding


Last Updated February 7, 2018

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