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Knight-Hennessy Scholars program announces third global cohort

May 4 2020

Knight-Hennessy Scholars program announces third global cohort

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program at Stanford University has announced its 2020 cohort of 76 scholars, with students from 26 countries pursuing degrees in 39 graduate programs at Stanford.

Stanford, California(May 4, 2020) --The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program ( at Stanford University has announced its 2020 cohort of 76 scholars, with students from 26 countries pursuing degrees in 39 graduate programs at Stanford.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates a diverse multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate, and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society. Knight-Hennessy Scholars benefit from an experiential leadership development platform, become part of a supportive community of fellow scholars, and receive funding for graduate study at Stanford. The program focuses on broadening knowledge, developing skills, and strengthening character through the King Global Leadership Program, which provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, domestic and global study trips, and personal development opportunities.

The 2020 Knight-Hennessy Scholars will pursue graduate degrees across the university at all seven of Stanford’s schools, with 26 percent earning degrees in Humanities and Sciences; 22 percent in Engineering; 17 percent in Business; 16 percent in Medicine; 13 percent in Law; 3 percent in Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences; and 3 percent in Education.

“Their intellectual ability, diversity of backgrounds and experiences, and commitment to a better world give me much-needed hope in this challenging time, as the world faces its first true pandemic in 100 years,” said John L. Hennessy, president emeritus and the Shriram Family Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. Short profiles of the 2020 Knight-Hennessy Scholars are available here (

A closer look at the third cohort

This year, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program received 6,171 applications. The primary selection criteria used to evaluate applicants were independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset.

A profile of the 2020 Knight-Hennessy Scholars is as follows:

  • 51 percent are women and 49 percent are men.
  • 34 percent are pursuing doctoral degrees, 27 percent are pursuing master’s degrees and 39 percent are pursuing professional degrees.
  • Among the 43 percent of international scholars in the cohort are students with passports from 26 countries including the US, 11 of which were not represented in the previous two cohorts (bolded): Argentina, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, Poland, Singapore, Syria, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States
  • The scholars earned undergraduate degrees at 16 international and 34 U.S. institutions, including 28 institutions not represented in the previous two cohorts (bolded):
    • International institutions represented are: American University of Beirut; Bandung Institute of Technology; Dalhousie University; Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; Manipal University; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Pontificia Universidad Javeriana; Technical University of Munich; Tel Aviv University; Trinity College, Dublin; Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich; Universidade de São Paulo; University of British Columbia; University of Kashmir; University of Oxford; and University of Toronto.
    • U.S. institutions are: Amherst College; Boston College; Brown University; Centre College; Clemson University; College of the Holy Cross; Columbia University; Dartmouth College; Duke University; Earlham College; Georgetown University; Harvard University; Iowa State University; Johns Hopkins University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; North Carolina State University; Oregon State University; Pomona College; Princeton University; Rice University; St. Olaf College; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Cincinnati; University of Georgia; University of Michigan; University of South Florida; University of St. Thomas; University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; U.S. Air Force Academy; U.S. Military Academy; University of Wisconsin -Madison; University of Wisconsin -Oshkosh; and Yale University.
  • 18 percent were the first members of their families to attend college.
  • Eight percent serve in the U.S. Military.

The inaugural cohort of 51 scholars arrived on campus in 2018, followed by 68 scholars in 2019. The 2020 cohort will bring the total scholar count to 190 after the first five scholars graduate in June. The program plans to increase the annual intake of scholars to 100 in the long term. The application for the 2021 cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars is available at ( The application deadline is October 14, 2020 at 1:00 pm Pacific Time.

The program frequently offers online information sessions to describe the community, program, and admission process. We hope to resume in-person outreach in 2021 domestically and around the world.

About Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Announced in 2016, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is named for Phil Knight, MBA ’62, philanthropist and co-founder of Nike Inc., and John Hennessy, chairman of Alphabet Inc. and president of Stanford from 2000 to 2016. For more information, visit the program’s website (

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