BY ARI CHASNOFF
The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program has announced 51 students from around the world for its inaugural cohort of scholars.
Scholars will pursue graduate degrees in 31 departments across the university at all seven of Stanford’s schools: Business; Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Education; Engineering; Humanities and Sciences; Law; and Medicine.
“We have selected students who believe strongly in the pressing need for better leadership across all disciplines, and around the globe,” said John L. Hennessy, Shriram Family Director of Knight-Hennessy Scholars.
Hennessy called each selected scholar to share the news of their admission to the program. “Their reactions were inspiring,” said Hennessy. “There is a true optimism among this group that they can make a positive impact in the world, and that their time as Knight-Hennessy Scholars will help prepare them for that mission.”
Along with Hennessy, who served as the university’s 10th president from 2000 to 2016, the program is named for alumnus Phil Knight, MBA ’62, philanthropist, business leader and co-founder of Nike Inc., who is contributing $400 million to back the program.
“This program brings together the best students from around the globe,” Knight said. “I expect they will become leaders in all sectors, both public and private, and find breakthroughs that will improve the world.”
Announced in 2016, the program aims to prepare a new generation of leaders with the deep academic foundation and broad skill set needed to develop creative solutions for complex challenges.
Scholars will receive financial support for the full cost of attendance for their graduate education at Stanford. Through the King Global Leadership Program, funded by a gift from Robert King, MBA ’60, and his wife, Dorothy, scholars will build on their core degree programs with leadership training, mentorship, and experiential learning across multiple disciplines. The King’s gift will also help support scholars from less economically developed regions of the world.
In its first year, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program received 3,601 applications from around the world. The primary admission criteria when evaluating applicants were independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset. Applicants were also required to apply to and be admitted by the Stanford graduate program of their choice.
“The scholars we selected are not just outstanding academically,” said Jeff Wachtel, the program’s executive director. “Each exhibits the humility, kindness, and empathy that establish the foundation for future cohorts of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, and that we hope will redefine global leadership.”
An initial profile of the selected cohort is as follows:
Domestic and international outreach for the 2019 cohort is already underway, with plans to host over 100 information sessions in more than 30 countries. The application for the 2019 cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars will open May 1 and is due Sept. 12, 2018.
Construction on Denning House, the future home of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, is underway on the shore of Stanford’s Lake Lagunita. The building will have classrooms; meeting, lecture and discussion rooms; and a dining space for dinners and events.
A gift from Roberta Bowman Denning, ’75, MBA ’78, and her husband Steven A. Denning, past chair of the Stanford Board of Trustees, MBA ’78, made the building possible.
An artist-in-residence program will also bring emerging and established artists to campus to pursue their art practice and interact with scholars.
“The art program at Denning House will allow scholars to engage with significant global artists who are poised to make a lasting impact,” said Roberta Denning, former chair of Stanford’s Arts Advisory Council. “The arts will be an important part of the Knight-Hennessy experience, strengthening our scholars’ ability to lead across disciplines and cultures.”
An orientation for the pioneer cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars and a dedication ceremony for Denning House are planned for fall 2018.
Media Contact: Ari Chasnoff, chasnoff [at] stanford [dot] edu, +1.650.721.0771