Knight Hennessy Scholarship Features, Eligibility, Application, Funding and Benefits

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, established in 2016 at Stanford University, unites exceptional individuals in visionary leadership.

It equips them to tackle global challenges. Beyond financial aid, this fully-funded graduate program fosters a vibrant community of diverse perspectives.

Scholars learn to navigate real-world complexities with nuance and understanding, reflecting the interconnectedness of our global landscape.

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Knight Hennessy Scholarship

Globalization brings increasing complexity, demanding visionary leaders. The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, founded in 2016 at Stanford University, serves as a beacon of hope.

It supports outstanding individuals committed to making a significant impact on the world. The program is fully funded and focuses on graduate education, fostering a diverse community of scholars.

Their goal is to empower these scholars to become courageous collaborators and changemakers.

Features of the Knight Hennessy Scholarship

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship goes beyond financial aid, offering a holistic approach to leadership development. Here’s a closer look at its key features:

  1. Diverse Community: Scholars come from various backgrounds and disciplines, creating a vibrant learning environment and encouraging diverse perspectives.
  2. King Global Leadership Program: This intensive program develops transformative leaders through workshops, lectures, projects, and international travel, enhancing critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and ethical decision-making skills.
  3. Mentorship and Networking: Scholars receive personalized guidance from renowned faculty and mentors, building lasting connections within and beyond the Stanford community to support their professional journeys.

Eligibility Criteria

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is open to everyone, aiming to find potential leaders without age, nationality, academic, or career restrictions. Yet, a few specific criteria shape the selection:

  1. Leadership Track Record: Applicants must demonstrate a history of taking initiative, solving problems, and motivating others, proving their ability to lead and create positive change.
  2. Global Challenge Commitment: It’s essential for applicants to genuinely want to address urgent global issues like climate change, poverty, or social injustice.
  3. Diverse Experiences and Perspectives: The program looks for individuals who bring unique viewpoints and life experiences to the table. This diversity enriches the learning environment and encourages innovative solutions.

Application Process

Applying for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship involves a challenging process with essays, recommendation letters, and interviews.

Although the 2024 application period is closed, watch out for the 2025 applications opening in summer 2024. The program’s website offers comprehensive guidance to navigate the application effectively.

Who funds the Knight Hennessy Scholarship?

Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder, generously funds the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship.

Motivated by a passion for education and belief in youth’s potential for positive change, Knight’s $750 million investment established an endowment.

This endowment drives the program’s mission to nurture visionary leaders capable of addressing global challenges.

Funding Breakdown:

  • More than 85% of the endowment directly supports scholars, covering tuition, living expenses, and travel for up to three years of graduate study at Stanford.
  • Additional backing comes from individual donors, including Stanford alumni, friends, and current and emeriti university trustees.


The endowment ensures the program’s long-term financial stability, consistently attracting and supporting exceptional scholars across generations.

This dedicated funding enables scholars to focus on academics and leadership development without financial worries.

Phil Knight’s Legacy:

Knight’s vision and generosity exemplify philanthropic investment in education and leadership development. The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship reflects his belief in individuals’ potential to create lasting impacts.

An image Illustration of Knight Hennessy Scholarship
[PHOTO: SEIU Healthcare]
More Than Financial Support:While financial backing is crucial, the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship goes beyond funding.

Through the King Global Leadership Program, mentorship, and networking, the program empowers scholars to become transformative leaders, ready to tackle challenges beyond their academic fields.

Global Challenges Addressed by KHS

Knight-Hennessy Scholarship (KHS) focuses on empowering scholars to tackle complex challenges in various areas:

  1. Climate Change and Sustainability: Developing innovative solutions to address climate change, promote sustainable practices, and ensure environmental justice.
  2. Healthcare and Global Health: Tackling disparities in healthcare access, enhancing disease prevention and treatment, and advocating for global health equity.
  3. Education and Social Justice: Building accessible and fair education systems, championing social justice, and empowering marginalized communities.
  4. Governance and Technology: Addressing governance challenges, utilizing technology for social good, and promoting ethical considerations in the digital world.

Benefits of the Knight Hennessy Scholarship

This Scholarship goes beyond immediate financial aid, offering numerous benefits:

  1. World-Class Education: Scholars gain access to Stanford University’s renowned faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and diverse academic programs, allowing them to delve deeply into their chosen fields.
  2. Lifelong Network: The program builds a lasting network of peers, mentors, and faculty, providing valuable support, collaboration opportunities, and career prospects throughout scholars’ professional journeys.
  3. Transformative Leadership Skills: Through the King Global Leadership Program, scholars acquire the skills and experiences needed to become effective leaders, enabling them to make a lasting impact on the world.