Stanford creates world’s biggest scholars’ programme

February 25, 2016 6:15 am

A $400 million donation will help 100 students a year study at Stanford University. Photo / File

PALO ALTO, California (AP) ” Nike co-founder Phil Knight is donating $400 million to Stanford University to help create the largest fully endowed scholarship in the world with the goal of preparing a new generation of global leaders.
With Knight’s gift and donations from alumni and Stanford’s Board of Trustees members, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars programme endowment already has $700 million, and is expected to grow to $750 million, university officials said.
The money will enable 100 students a year, nominated by their undergraduate universities, to receive funding for three years to pursue masters’ or doctorate-level degrees, or professional programmes at Stanford.
“We wanted to create something enduring, that would be unlike anything else currently available to the world’s brightest minds, and that would make the biggest impact possible towards solving global challenges affecting the environment, health, education and human rights,” said Stanford President John Hennessy, who will serve as the programme’s director after he steps down as president later this year.
Hennessy came up with the idea for the programme and approached Knight.
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who will succeed Hennessy as president, said he greatly admires the vision and ambition of the programme.
“As the beneficiary of a Rhodes Scholarship, I can attest to the value of such programmes to provide a broad base of knowledge and exposure to a dynamic, international network of peers,” he said.
Knight has long been a supporter of Stanford. In 2006, he made a major gift to Stanford Graduate School of and has provided substantial support for endowed professorships and Stanford Athletics. With this most recent gift, Knight wanted to honor Hennessy’s 16-year tenure leading Stanford.
“John and I 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,” said Knight.
Stanford will begin accepting applications in summer next year and admit its first scholars in the northern autumn of 2018.
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