Laying the Foundation: A Legacy for the Future

Reflections on the generosity of our alumni and friends, and their help in building the Knight Management Center.

April 30, 2011

The recent festivities that marked the opening of the Knight Management Center in April provided me with an occasion to reflect on the generosity of our alumni and friends. As one of the school’s key priorities within The Stanford Challenge, our magnificent new home is ideally suited to support and enhance Stanford GSB’s curriculum, to deepen multidisciplinary partnerships throughout the university, and to leverage our intimate scale and collaborative culture to create truly transformational educational experiences.

The dedication ceremony for the Knight Management Center

The dedication ceremony for the Knight Management Center, the new home of the Graduate School of Business, in April 2011.

We are indebted to all who have made possible this extraordinary inflection point in the school’s trajectory. Your investments helped create the eight environmentally sustainable buildings that now house students, faculty, and staff. In addition to the construction of the Knight Management Center, your commitment to student fellowships, faculty research and teaching, programs and centers, and annual giving enable the curricular innovations, ideas, and collaborations that truly distinguish the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

When the first conversations about building a new home for Stanford GSB occurred, no one could have predicted the impact of the many forces that subsequently altered the landscape of management. But we knew we needed the flexibility to enable personal leadership, critical thinking, collaboration, and innovation. The facility within which Stanford GSB community now has the privilege of working, thinking, and learning makes greatness possible today and tomorrow.

Generations of incoming students from around the world will spend transformative years here and their education will magnify in importance throughout their careers. They will leave here knowing how to reason and analyze, build and work in teams, listen and reflect, and dream without boundaries. They will live our mantra to “change lives, change organizations, and change the world.”

Along with the incredible generosity of Penny and Philip H. Knight, MBA ’62, many of you who share in the belief of the possibilities opened and nurtured by a Stanford GSB education collectively have laid the foundation upon which we will continue to grow. Phil has noted that he wrote his original business plan for Nike while taking Professor Frank Shallenberger’s entrepreneurship course. Frank instilled in him the courage and the enthusiasm to become an entrepreneur, and imparted the words of wisdom that “the only time you must not fail is the last time you try.” I hope that may be a similar source of inspiration for generations of Stanford GSB students as they strive for greatness, and a chance to have tremendous impact on the world.

When you next come to visit Stanford GSB, and I hope it will be soon, you will find the cornerstone of the Knight Management Center, which reads: “Dedicated to the things that haven’t happened yet and the people who are about to dream them up.” This encapsulation of hope, empowerment, and invention is complemented by another notable addition to the bedrock of this facility — an imprint of Phil’s sneakers by the main entrance that is designed to serve as an inspirational foundation from which to launch students into careers of impact and meaning.

My sincere thanks to all of you for your role in bringing to life our vision for the school and embracing our culture of leaning into the future.

by Garth Saloner, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, AM ’81, MS ’82, PhD ’82

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