Garam Kim spoke on behalf of scholars at the ceremony, which took place on Sunday, September 23. Here are her remarks.
Good afternoon. I am a proud, humbled, and extremely grateful Knight-Hennessy Scholar, and it is an honor and pleasure to be able to share this special moment with you today. When I think back about applying to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, I recall visiting the website for the very first time. I checked to see what they are looking for in a scholar, and it said something along the lines of "seeking future leaders who will address the world’s most complex challenges with creative solutions." And that's not an easy task. So I asked myself, well, what does it take? What does it take to address any complex problem?
I thought about it a lot, and ultimately it came down to two things. First, you probably need some intelligent, hard-working, driven people, who are passionate about some goal. And based on what I have observed and learned of my fellow scholars so far – their civic mindset, diverse backgrounds, impressive accomplishments, kindness for others and a collective desire for the world to be a better place – I have no doubt in my mind that the talent, drive, and intellectual capacity needed is here at Stanford and in this very room.
The second and, in my mind the more important point – is that when John was envisioning this program, he recognized that an individual’s singular excellence is not enough, and that as the problems of the world get more complex, we need more collaboration across disciplines, and an open sharing and exchange of ideas. And for this to happen, we need Denning House. Denning House has really been a wonderful space for us. It's beautiful, and it already feels like home.
Denning House has really been a wonderful space for us. It's beautiful, and it already feels like home.
Ultimately, addressing complex challenges comes down to building a community – a community of scholars – so that ten, twenty, thirty, and forty years down the road, I can say "Hey, I have a great idea. You would be the perfect person to help me with this" – and we can tackle a challenging question together.
So from all 51 of us Knight-Hennessy Scholars, we want to sincerely thank Steve and Roberta Denning, for making Denning House a possibility for us, as well as John, for being the visionary of this program, and to Phil Knight and all the generous donors who have made this possible and given us this wonderful opportunity. I'd like to ask all the Knight-Hennessy scholars here to stand, and for them to give a warm round of applause to everyone who has helped turn this program into a reality. Thank you very much.