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About Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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Mission

The goal of Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS) is to educate and prepare a community of scholars for leadership roles in academia, industry, government, nonprofits, and the community at large. 

Leadership in the modern world requires multicultural and multidisciplinary understanding. The most important problems that the world faces are often global and usually require experts across multiple disciplines to make meaningful progress. Thus, KHS brings together scholars from around the world and from many disciplines to create a learning environment that will help prepare all our scholars for leadership in a highly diverse and complex world. KHS takes the long view; the arc of life and leadership are long, and it may take many years before a scholar's maximum impact is achieved.

Our offerings seek to strengthen values, build skills, develop knowledge, and create a community that will lead to lifelong relationships with a network of global leaders.

How We Started

Knight-Hennessy Scholars was founded in 2016 by Phil Knight, MBA ’62, philanthropist, American businessman and co-founder of Nike Inc., and John Hennessy, who served as Stanford University’s 10th president from 2000 to 2016.  Mr. Knight and President Emeritus Hennessy recognized an opportunity for greater leadership across a variety of sectors in our society, and created a graduate-level scholarship to address this systemic issue.

Mr. Knight and numerous other benefactors provided founding gifts totaling more than $750 million, which makes Knight-Hennessy Scholars the largest fully endowed graduate fellowship in the world. President Emeritus Hennessy is the visionary behind Knight-Hennessy Scholars and continues to serve as the program’s inaugural Shriram Family Director.

Where We're Going

The benefits of being a Knight-Hennessy scholar continue long after graduation. KHS alumni from across disciplines and cultures will support one another as they address important issues facing our planet. Alumni will attend events and reunions, mentor current scholars, and serve as guest speakers and ambassadors, and ultimately develop future generations of scholars.

As the number of Knight-Hennessy scholars grows over time and each cohort matures professionally, the collective contributions of KHS alumni will expand and positively impact our world and increasing scale.  In 50 years, there will be 5,000 Knight-Hennessy scholars at various stages of their career driving positive change that transcend disciplinary and cultural boundaries.