The university’s highest honor for volunteer service to Stanford was inspired by President Herbert Hoover, Class of 1895, who said, “Great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women; they were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of leadership.”
Philip H. Knight, MBA ’62
A dedicated alumnus of Stanford Graduate School of Business, Phil Knight has repeatedly distinguished himself as one of the university’s most visionary and generous alumni. The legendary Nike co-founder and chairman emeritus has been a pillar of the Stanford community for more than six decades—the quintessential model of innovation, optimism, and perseverance.
Phil has quietly shared his humble counsel, discerning guidance, and friendship with people across the university, from Stanford’s presidents and senior leaders to faculty, staff, and students. Phil’s commitment to Stanford reverberates across campus, touching everything from scholarships to athletics to complex academic research.
Phil's devotion to Stanford is also evident through his remarkable philanthropy. In 2011, Phil made a transformational gift to the GSB, enabling the development of the inventive and expansive school complex that bears his name. Inspired by then-president John Hennessy’s vision of a novel graduate-level scholarship program to prepare future leaders, he helped launch the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program in 2016. Phil is also a longtime champion of the humanities, providing vital support for faculty in the creative writing program. Most recently, he and his wife, Penny, established the Phil and Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience, a cutting-edge research endeavor to combat neurodegeneration.
Phil has left footprints across campus—both literally, in concrete at the Knight Management Center, and figuratively, through his rare and extraordinary service to the university.
List of Past Recipients
John Arrillaga, ’60 Anne T. Bass, MLA ’07 Robert M. Bass, MBA ’74 Peter S. Bing, ’55 Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel, 1920 George A. Ditz, 1911, JD 1913 Morris M. Doyle, 1929 Paul C. Edwards, 1906 Jill Freidenrich, ’63 John Freidenrich, ’59, LLB ’63 Jim Gaither, JD ’64
John W. Gardner, ’33, AM ’36 May Chandler Goodan, 1914 Cecil GreenIda M. Green Morgan Gunst, 1906 William R. Hewlett, ’34, ENG ’39 Herbert Hoover, 1895 Dorothy King Robert King, MBA’60 Jing Lyman Richard W. Lyman Burt McMurtry, MS ’59, PhD ’62
Deedee McMurtry John P. Morgridge, MBA ’57 Tashia Morgridge Linda Randall Meier, ’61 David Packard, ’34, ENG ’39 Lucile Salter Packard, ’35 Harry B. Reynolds, 1896 Louis H. Roseberry, 1903 J. E. Wallace Sterling, PhD ’38 Frederick E. Terman, 1920, ENG 1922