By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor


As recruitment begins in early May for graduate-level students worldwide, Stanford University seeks independent thinkers who possess rebellious minds to apply for an exciting opportunity at the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.

The Knight-Hennessy program is Stanford’s new graduate-level fellowship aimed at preparing the next generation of global leaders to address the increasingly complex challenges facing the world.  “We’re looking for people who are independent thinkers who can hold a contrary point of view. You might say people with a rebellious mind,” said Jeff Watchel, executive director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars.

“They don’t necessarily have to be loud and disagreeable,” Watchel added. “But [they should be] people who can feel confident in an idea or opinion and carry it through.” Before being named executive director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, Watchel served as chief of staff to the president of Stanford University, John Hennessy, for whom the program is named, along with Nike CEO Phil Knight.

Watchel felt that the civic mind of University of Missouri–St. Louis students and willingness to help others in their community was something that made, UMSL unique. “We think that people can have a significant impact at the local level, and that seems like that was an important value in students at UMSL,” he said.

“In the last year of John Hennessy’s presidency, he started to think about what he was going to do next, and saw a great void in leadership in all areas in government, in the private sector and the public sector, and thought that we could make a difference in that area and develop this fellowship program, and that’s how I became involved,” explained Watchel.

The program will select up to 100 students annually from across the globe to receive full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford. Each chosen student will receive a full fellowship, which will include tuition, room and board, and a stipend that would support some travel and research. The program will provide the first three years of funding for the student. If the graduate program they choose is longer than three years, the school in which they enroll will fund the balance of the fellowship.

“So the idea is when you finish, you will have no debt, and what you choose to do next will not be influenced by the need to repay student loans,” Watchel said.

There are two things Knight-Hennessy Scholars can expect when attending Stanford. The first is a first-rate graduate education in whichever field they choose, and the second is building a network with the other Knight-Hennessy Scholars that will last a lifetime.

Admission criteria for the program has been published on the program’s website. The application launches May 1 and is due by September 27.

Along with the Knight-Hennessy application, students are also required to apply to a Stanford graduate program of their choosing by November 15. Students cannot be part of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program without first being accepted into one of the graduate programs, and students have five years within receiving their bachelor’s degree to apply.

Stanford is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in California and offers a comprehensive range of fields with over 125 graduate degree programs.

“Being at a research university provides the opportunity to create new knowledge for the next generation of students. What’s particularly exciting about Stanford [is that] it’s an entrepreneurial approach to what we do,” Watchel said. “There seems to be no limit to what students feel they can accomplish.”

For more information on the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program visit