NIKE Inc. founder and chairman Philip H. Knight, MBA '62, will give $105 million to Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. It is believed to be the largest gift ever given to a business school.
The majority of the gift — $100 million — will be used to construct a new $275 million campus for the Business School, to be named the Knight Management Center. Concept and site approval for the collection of eight buildings to be set around three quadrangles on the Stanford campus were given by the Stanford University Board of Trustees on June 15. After raising the balance of needed funds for the campus, the School plans to break ground on the new management center in 2008. The remaining $5 million of the Knight gift will be used to match other donors' gifts for faculty endowment.
"Phil Knight has once again shown the depth of his commitment to Stanford's future," said Stanford University President John Hennessy. "The enormous generosity of this gift will enable the Graduate School of Business to create a truly unique environment for its graduate programs and enrich Stanford's efforts to encourage multidisciplinary teaching and research that transcends traditional boundaries. We are most grateful for this vote of confidence from Phil and look forward to the extraordinary intellectual innovation I'm certain this gift will foster."
Knight's commitment comes just weeks after the Graduate School of Business faculty adopted plans for sweeping changes in the School's MBA curriculum to be implemented in the fall of 2007.
The MBA Program redesign builds on the School's small size to create a highly personalized educational experience with more seminars and varied classes for students. "A new curriculum, increased integration with the University, and a new campus: This is a very exciting time for the Business School," said Robert L. Joss, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Business. "Phil's commitment is the linchpin which will allow us to create a physical environment to support new methods of teaching management and leadership while also inviting more collaboration from across Stanford."
The Knight Management Center design will include more flexible classroom space for the greater number of small classes and seminars the school will offer. The new campus is also designed to support more interaction with University faculty and students, including facilities for cross-disciplinary classes and lectures. "Stanford Business School was an important part of my life," said Knight. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to give back to the School and help it continue to push the boundaries of excellence in management education."
The center plans include a 450-seat auditorium, classrooms, breakout study rooms, dining facilities, a career management center, executive education space, and faculty and staff offices. It will be outfitted with state-of-the-art instructional technology. When completed, the center is expected to comprise approximately 340,000 square feet. This will replace the current 255,000 square feet of outdated Business School facilities, resulting in a net additional 85,000 square feet occupied by the School on the Stanford campus.
Knight previously has contributed substantial support to the University, including funds for the dean's professorship, construction of the Business School's Knight Building in 1999, and gifts to the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation.