Yale Law School student and Kerry Fellow Zoe Weinberg is among five Yale affiliates named as inaugural Knight-Hennessy Scholars.
Knight-Hennessey Scholars receive financial support for the full cost of attendance for their graduate education at Stanford University, and build on their core degree program with leadership training, mentorship, and experiential learning across multiple disciplines. Announced in 2016, the program aims to prepare a new generation of leaders with the “deep academic foundation and broad skill set needed to develop creative solutions for the world’s most complex challenges,” according to a press release announcing the scholars.
Weinberg is among 49 selected students, who were chosen from 3,601 applicants from around the world. The primary admission criteria include independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset. Applicants were also required to apply and be admitted to the Stanford graduate program of their choice.
“We have selected students who believe strongly in the pressing need for better leadership across all disciplines, and around the globe,” said John L. Hennessey, the Shriram Family Director of Knight-Hennessey Scholars.
Along with Hennessy, who served as Stanford’s 10th president from 2000 to 2016, the program is named for Stanford alumnus Phil Knight, M.B.A. ’62, a philanthropist, business leader, and co-founder of Nike Inc., who is contributing $400 million to back the scholarship program.
“This program brings together the best students from around the globe,” said Knight. “I expect they will become leaders in all sectors, both public and private, and find breakthroughs that will improve the world.”
Weinberg, who was born in Paris and raised in New York, is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University, and is now working toward a J.D. at Yale Law School. Prior to graduate school, she worked on the Hillary for America campaign, serving as the assistant to the chief administrative officer. Previously she worked at the International Finance Corporation at the World Bank, based in Washington, D.C. and Nairobi, and in Goldman Sachs’s alternative investments group in New York. At Yale, she was named a Kerry Initiative Fellow and an associate fellow of the Greenberg World Fellows Program. At Harvard her senior thesis was awarded the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize and the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize for outstanding thesis relating to African-American history.
Knight’s founding gift to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars endowment is the largest cash gift from an individual to Stanford. Other gifts include a $100 million donation from Dorothy and Robert King, M.B.A. ’60. With an endowment of $750 million, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will be the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world.
“The scholars we selected are not just outstanding academically,” said Jeff Wachtel, the program’s executive director. “Each exhibits the humility, kindness, and empathy that establish the foundation for future cohorts of Knight-Hennessey Scholars, and that we hope will redefine global leadership.”