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Founders and Benefactors

Thanks to the remarkable generosity of Phil and Penny Knight and the benefactors recognized below, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program has an endowment of $750 million. More than 85 percent of the endowment will be directed to financial aid for the Scholars.



Philip H. Knight, MBA ’62, provided the founding gift to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. He was excited by the opportunity to partner with Stanford to launch a transformative program and wished to honor John Hennessy’s 16-year tenure as president of Stanford University. Co-founder and Chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., Knight wrote his business plan for Nike while a graduate student at Stanford. He has since been actively engaged at the university and a generous contributor to its programs.

President John L. Hennessy

John L. Hennessy, the 10th president of Stanford University, is the academic architect and visionary behind the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program. Building upon the major academic initiatives advanced during his presidency, Hennessy sought to create an enduring and unmatched education program that would have significant impact on global challenges in the 21st century and beyond. Upon stepping down from the presidency, he began serving as the inaugural Shriram Family Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program.

Major Benefactors


Robert King, MBA ’60, and his wife, Dorothy King, have created the King Endowment for Global Scholars and the King Global Leadership Program, in which all Knight-Hennessy Scholars will participate. The Kings, who have welcomed more than 50 of Stanford’s international students into their home over the last 55 years, are also founding donors to the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED), which aims to alleviate global poverty by stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.


Roberta Bowman Denning, ’75, MBA ’78, and Steven A. Denning, MBA ’78, have made a gift to establish Denning House, which will serve as the convening hub for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars. Roberta is chair of Stanford's Arts Advisory Council and the Humanities and Sciences Council, and Steve is the immediate past chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees. Parents of Stanford graduates Carrie, '08, MA '09, MBA '15 and Robert, MBA '11, the Dennings have provided longstanding volunteer and philanthropic support for programs and priorities across the university.

The following alumni and friends also provided major support to help launch the program. Their gifts provide vital endowment to underwrite financial aid and sustain the program in perpetuity.

  • Anonymous (3)
  • Brook and Shawn Byers
  • Jim and Penny Coulter
  • Toni Cupal and Mike Volpi
  • Fiona and Stan Druckenmiller
  • Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie
  • The Fan Family Charitable Trust
  • Jill and John Freidenrich
  • Cynthia Fry Gunn and John Gunn
  • Allison and Howard Lutnick
  • Craig and Susan McCaw
  • Burt and Deedee McMurtry
  • Hamid and Tina Moghadam
  • Betty and Gordon Moore
  • Angela Nomellini and Kenneth Olivier
  • Overdeck Family Foundation
  • Anthony Paduano and Ruth Porat
    Jeff and Tricia Raikes
  • Betsy and Sam Reeves
  • Jesse and Mindy Rogers
  • Ram and Vijay Shriram
  • Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang
  • Larry C. K. Yung Family

In addition, a number of current and emeriti University Trustees came together to establish the Trustee Endowment Fund for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program. Stanford University gratefully recognizes their collective generosity.


Last updated 26 January 2017

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