The Success of The Stanford Challenge

In 2012, Stanford University concluded an unprecedented five-year campaign that positioned the school to address a range of challenges in the global economy.

March 01, 2012

This past December, Stanford University concluded an unprecedented five-year campaign that positioned the school to address a range of challenges in today’s global economy. The success of The Stanford Challenge, which was made possible with the extensive support of Stanford GSB alumni and friends, will further enable us to educate the next generation of leaders to address real-world problems.

Knight Management Center

Students gather in Town Square to show their thanks to donors for a successful campaign.

Widespread enthusiasm throughout the Stanford GSB community for the school’s vision translated into tremendous financial support. Over 15,400 alumni and friends contributed to school priorities for the campaign and 1,915 fundraising volunteers dedicated their time toward raising $884 million for Stanford GSB. More than half of that amount was designated for people and programs at the heart of our mission, which sets us on an extraordinary trajectory for the years ahead.

In reflecting on the magnitude of what this means for us, I am struck by the sweeping transformations that have taken place in just a few short years. We have reinvented our management education curriculum by introducing a program to equip students with leadership and problem-solving skills required in today’s global economy; seeded multidisciplinary collaborations throughout Stanford and beyond to create innovative solutions; and built a new home that makes it possible to learn, teach, and connect in ways that we simply could not do before.

Your collective commitment and generosity created:

  • 66 new endowed MBA and PhD fellowships to attract the most talented students from around the world in an environment of increasing need for financial aid;
  • 31 new endowed faculty positions to reinforce the school’s intellectual capital and the renowned caliber of our faculty as researchers, teachers, mentors, and thought leaders;
  • The Knight Management Center, which embodies Stanford GSB’s transformation as a collaborative environment for teaching and learning and as a convener of ideas and people; and which has earned a LEED Platinum® rating — the highest rating for environmental sustainability; and
  • An invigorating vote of confidence in our capacity to change lives, change organizations, and change the world as reflected in the broad base of donors whose annual gifts attest to the power of Stanford GSB experience.

Each day at Stanford GSB, I am amazed by the energy, the excitement, and the ideas that fill every corner of the school. As I consider the progress we’ve made over the past several years, I see our programs and people coming together to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

As a pioneer among business schools, we introduced an over-arching curricular redesign in fall 2007. By bringing a more personalized, experiential, leadership-oriented approach to collaborative learning, the school set a new standard for management education. Those changes also drove home the need for greater flexibility and variety in the physical environment to support the demands of a broad range of new teaching and learning methods and formats.

The campaign galvanized our centers for leadership, entrepreneurship, global business, and social innovation with the expansion and integration of key programs such as leadership labs and coaching; global immersion internships and summer projects; study trips for students and faculty; and service learning initiatives. Donor commitments enabled new or enhanced joint and dual degree programs, including the MBA/MS Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources and the MBA/Master of Public Policy, and deeper connections with the schools of education, medicine, engineering, and law.

Your generous contributions have enabled us to expand faculty and student collaboration across the university with programs and initiatives such as the Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Corporate Governance Research Program, the Program in Healthcare Innovation, and the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED).

As we celebrate the success of The Stanford Challenge I am awed by the spirit and generosity of our alumni and friends and am deeply grateful to all who stepped up with the investment of time and resources. We could not have achieved our ambitions without the involvement of each of you. I hope you are as inspired as I am by the impact your commitment has made on Stanford GSB and its resulting promise for the future.

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

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