Bloomberg TV Interview
As of 2016, according to Portland Business Journal, "Knight is the most generous philanthropist in Oregon history. His lifetime gifts now approach $2 billion."
In 2006, Knight donated US$105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which, at the time, was the largest ever individual donation to an American business school. The campus was named "The Knight Management Center," in honor of Knight's philanthropic service to the school.
In 2016, it was announced that Knight contributed $400 million to start the Knight-Hennessy Scholars graduate-level education program. The program will admit up to 100 students with demonstrated leadership and civic commitment each year and is inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship. Over 80% of the endowment will cover living expenses and education at one of the seven graduate schools at Stanford; the graduates are charged to tackle global challenges such as climate change and poverty. The first class of 50 will be admitted in fall 2018.The scholars' academic experience will focus on both subject-specific knowledge and leadership development so that they can be prepared to address global challenges.
University of Oregon
Knight has donated tens of millions of dollars to the University of Oregon's academic side. Major gifts include funds supporting the renovation of the Knight Library and construction of the Knight Law Center. Knight also established endowed chairs across the campus. In the fall of 2016, it was announced that Knight will donate $500 million to UO for a new three-building laboratory and research science complex. This donation was part of a series of large higher-education gifts.
In August 2007, Knight announced that he and his wife would be donating US$100 million to found the UO Athletics Legacy Fund to help support all athletic programs at the university. In response, Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny said: "This extraordinary gift will set Oregon athletics on a course toward certain self sufficiency and create the flexibility and financial capacity for the university to move forward with the new athletic arena." At the time, the donation was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the university.
The 2010 construction of the UO basketball team's facility, Matthew Knight Arena, was the result of a partnership between Knight and former Oregon Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny. Although Knight didn't pay for the project directly, he established a $100 million "Athletic Legacy Fund." The fund supports the athletic department.Named after Knight's deceased son, the venue replaced the McArthur Court building and its cost of over US$200 million to build. The facility was built using bonds backed by the State of Oregon.
Knight was responsible for financing the UO's US$68 million 145,000 square-foot gridiron football facility that was officially opened in late July 2013. Knight's personal locker in the team's locker room displays the title "Uncle Phil", and other features include a gym with Brazilian hardwood floors, Apple iPhone chargers in each of the player's lockers, various auditoriums and meeting rooms, a games room for the players that includes flat-screen televisions and foosball machines, and a cafeteria.
In November 2015, it was announced that Knight and his wife would be donating $19.2 million towards a new sports complex project at the University of Oregon. The plans for the 29,000 square foot complex was announced in September. Construction will begin in January 2016 and end in September 2016. The sports complex was named the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center and includes motion capture systems, neurocognitive assessment tools, 40-yard dash track, and steam machines made by Nike to help athletes break into their footwear more quickly.
In October 2016, Knight and his wife invested $500 million to build a new campus dedicated to science, called the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. Three new buildings will be constructed and will provide 750 family-wage jobs once it is completed and fully operational.
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