Nike Co-Founder Rains $400M Donation on Stanford

Philip Knight's gift, one of the biggest to a college ever, will fund scholarship program
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 1:48 PM CST
Nike Co-Founder Rains $400M Donation on Stanford
Students walk on campus at Stanford University on Jan. 13, 2016, in Stanford, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Stanford University is launching a program it's calling the "largest single increase in student financial aid in Stanford's history," and it has Nike's chairman to thank for the lion's share of it, NPR reports. Philip Knight, also one of Nike's co-founders, has pledged $400 million, which is more than half of a $750 million endowment supporting the new Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. The scholarship aims to attract students from around the globe with demonstrated "leadership and civic commitment" to solve some of the world's biggest challenges.

Knight's philanthropic offering—one of the biggest ever from a single donor to a university—will fund at least three years of full-time study toward a master's or doctorate for 100 students per year. The first director of the program will be John Hennessy, the college's current president, who's taking leave of his post this year after 16 years at the helm. "This is using education to benefit mankind, and I think it really could be transformative," Knight told the New York Times in a phone interview. (A marijuana tax in Colorado will go toward college scholarships.)

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