Niche College Scholarship Blog


‘Just Do It’ CEO Does It, Donates $400 Million for Scholarships

‘Just Do It’ CEO Does It, Donates $400 Million for Scholarships
Susan Dutca-Lovell

What do you get when you combine Nike Co-Founder and Stanford alumni Phillip Knight with one of the world's most prestigious universities? A big name school with an additional $400 million donated graduate scholarships. As a gift to Stanford University on his 78th birthday, the endowment is intended to attract some of the world's brightest graduate and professional students looking to solve major global challenges.

The Knight-Hennessey Scholars Program is one of the largest scholarships to have ever been donated from an individual university. Stanford also claims that the program represented the "largest single increase in student financial aid in Stanford's history," and it will provide aid for a minimum of three years of graduate-level study, with 100 scholars admitted annually. The Stanford Daily reports that it "will be analogous to the Rhodes and Shwarzman scholarships." According to the press release, scholars will be nominated by their universities based on high academic achievement, leadership, and civic commitment. Nominees will be from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities.

John Hennessey, Stanford's President of 16 years who is stepping down this year to run the new scholars program, claims that the program "will be the largest graduate scholarship program focused on all disciplines at any university in the world." The graduate and professional schools in which it will enroll scholars are law, business, medicine, engineering, humanities and sciences, education, Earth, energy, and environmental sciences. There is also an option for extended funding for scholars pursuing PhD or MD degrees. Leadership training and development, residential experiences, immersive educational opportunities, and additional degree opportunities focused on public policy and problem-solving will be incorporated into the program. More than 80% of the endowment will cover students' living expenses and education.

While the generous endowment would help educate some of the world's prospective leaders, some criticize the "megagifts" given to prestigious universities, claiming that "they are more about prestige and ego than academic excellence," as reported by Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times. Could this really just be an "arms race between the top schools with no connection to reality," as stated by New York writer and author Malcolm Gladwell?

Knight has supported Stanford since 2006, when he contributed a large gift to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The Knight-Hennessey Scholars Program is actually Knight's second largest donation to a college or university, the largest being a 2013 donation of $500 million to the University of Oregon in which he challenged the university to raise $500M by offering to match the amount. Stanford will start accepting applications beginning in the summer of 2017 and admit its first brigade of scholars for fall of 2018. Knight and Hennessey "dream of a future 20, 30, or 50 years from now, when thousands of graduates - who can think outside the box as skilled problem-solvers - will be working together for a more peaceful, habitable world."

Would you apply for the scholarship program? Keep an eye out for more information to come on the scholarship and in meantime, see what other scholarship opportunities you are eligible for.

Comments (12)
Victoria E. Hardy 3/30/2016
I am ready to face my new challenges of college life and extremely excited to become a successful neonatal nurse. I hope to have the courage and strength for the skills and knowledge to become part of a team that helps make miracles happen everyday... to hear true laughter and see a glance of a smile of an honest infant is a true sign of a brighter tomorrow.
Jamarcus Dickerson 3/9/2016
Hello, Its very hard being a African american male being judge bye my skin tone but I am happy and blessed and I am the only one in the dickerson family to graduate high school or just come to jouiner in high school I have all A's but I lacked around my other years but still had A's and B's....
Bishnu M 3/4/2016
I'm glad that they're giving scholarship to student who wants to do something in life..
I am a single mother of two, one girl 25 and a boy 3/2/2016
Im also raising 2 grand children 3 and 1 they are my world. Im a full time freshman in collage. It's very exspensive even though I also work full time, I still can't keep up with everything. I live in a 40 foot trailer with only electric when it wants to work, nohot water, but I do the best I can and im not complaining I just wish I could get help with collage. I've got 3 years til I fill my dream of being a nurse. If anyone know where I can get scholarships please let me know thank you
June M 3/2/2016
I am a single mom that struggled raising three kids alone. Ages 32, 25,and 17. My 17 year old has been accepted at three different universities/ colleges so far. I am in my sophomore year of college myself with student loans piling up. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA and have consistently been on the Presidents List. Unfortunately I feel like I may have to make a decision between my daughter's education and my own because I can not afford both. I am about to complete my AA degree in Business Management this summer. But I rather give my daughter the opportunity to receive her degree at a young age and come back to mines once she is finish. So I plan to withdraw after I graduate from the AA program. I know what I have to do but it not what want to do. I have search for scholarships and more grant money since I have been in school with no success. Can anyone advise me of some where that can assist? Thanks!
Briyanna L 3/1/2016
Being an African American woman, and the struggles of abuse,and not having a father figure and just having my mom support me. Then having to support myself my junior and senior year, not getting to go to prom cause of finical issues this scholarship could definitely help me out big time
Laqushia E. 3/1/2016
What a wonderful opportunity....Thanks for making this opportunity possible.
Doug 3/1/2016
Glad to see the wealthy giving back for good causes
Jimmy Perry 3/1/2016
I really need this to help pay for my college costs.
Myla Williams 3/1/2016
I really believe that someone like knight will help us in the world. We need more people like him and others to help people in need for money because most parents can not afford to even help pay for there childs college. Maybe if the people who don't have alot of money get this scholarship they will be able to help us in the future because most people who can not afford college are very smart but just don't have the money.
Ivondre W. 3/1/2016
I really need this scholarship because my Mom is not able afford my college education. I have maintain a 3.5 to 4.0 my entire school life with the intentions of attending the best school. I will be the first born in my family to attend college.
Dewun G 2/25/2016
How do I get funded ?
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