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February 24, 2016

Phil Knight Gives $400 Million for Stanford Scholars Program

Nike Chairman Phil Knight has pledged $400 million to an effort to recruit graduate students to the California institution to tackle the world's biggest social and environmental challenges, reports The New York Times. The university said the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, conceived by departing Stanford President John Hennessy, has raised $750 million in total.

The program will launch in 2018 with Stanford annually offering full tuition and board to 100 graduate students who will work on issues like poverty and climate change in small, multidisciplinary teams. "This is using education to benefit mankind and I think it really could be transformative," said Mr. Knight, an alumnus of Stanford's business school. "I jumped on it right away."

Mr. Knight has made multiple megagifts for higher education, including $105 million to Stanford in 2006 and a $500 million challenge grant in 2013 to Oregon Health & Science University in Nike's home state. Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion column on Mr. Knight's gift to the Oregon medical school, and browse the 2015 Philanthropy 50 to seek how his latest big contribution compares to last year's top donors.

Note: A previous version of this article said the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program is one of the world's largest fully funded scholarship endowments. It has raised more than 90 percent of its endowment goal.