Inaugural Knight-Hennessy Scholars selected

Feb. 15, 2018, 11:40 p.m.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program has chosen its pioneering cohort of 49 students, according to a Stanford News report released Thursday.

The Knight-Hennessy scholarship is named after Nike co-founder Phil Knight M.B.A ’62, who donated $400 million to the program, and former Stanford president John Hennessy, the program’s Shriram Family Director. The scholarship offers recipients full financial support for three years to pursue a graduate degree. In its first year, Knight-Hennessy is the largest fully-funded scholars program worldwide.

Of the Knight-Hennessy cohort, 67 percent of engineering doctoral students and 57 percent overall are women. 23 percent are first-generation U.S. citizens. The scholars come to Stanford from 37 undergraduate institutions; 63 percent hold non-U.S. passports.

Inaugural Knight-Hennessy Scholars selected
John Hennessy chats with finalists on the Friday they gathered on campus in January to begin a weekend of events. (LINDA CICERO/Stanford News)

The program selected the 49 scholars from an initial pool of 3,601 applicants. Prior to consideration for the scholarship, applicants were required to gain admission by their graduate program. Scholars in this year’s cohort will pursue graduate degrees in all seven of Stanford’s schools.

Scholars were admitted based primarily on their demonstration of independent thought, purposeful leadership and a civic mindset.

“The scholars we selected are not just outstanding academically,” said Jeff Wachtel, executive director of the program. “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.”

Beyond their core degree programs, Knight-Hennessy scholars will participate in the King Global Leadership Program, which emphasizes leadership skills, mentorship and experiential learning.

“We have selected students who believe strongly in the pressing need for better leadership across all disciplines and around the globe,” Hennessy said.

The program will be housed at Denning House, a building overlooking Lake Lagunita. When it is finished, Denning House will feature small-group spaces, a lounge, classrooms, lecture rooms and a dining space. An artist-in-residence program will also allow the scholars to interact with significant global artists and engage with artwork.

“The arts will be an important part of the Knight-Hennessy experience, strengthening our scholars’ ability to lead across disciplines and cultures,” said Roberta Denning ’75 MBA ’78. She and her husband, Steven Denning MBA ‘78, donated to fund the construction of the building.

Domestic and international outreach for the next cohort is currently in progress. The application for the 2019 Knight-Hennessy Scholars program opens May 1.

Contact Annie Chang at annette.chang ‘at’

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