Phil Knight recognized by AAAS for business and philanthropic contributions

Phil Knight
Phil Knight

University of Oregon graduate Phil Knight, the Nike co-founder and philanthropist, is one of 197 people elected to the 2015 American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership class. 

The AAAS is one of the country's oldest learned societies, made up of more than 4,600 leaders from a broad range of academic, business and government sectors.

“On behalf of the University of Oregon, I send my sincere congratulations to Mr. Knight for his election as a fellow of the American Academy.  This is a huge honor that he so rightly deserves," said AAAS President Geri Richmond, a UO Presidential Chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry.  "His election is a reflection of the high level of respect and admiration that members of the academy have for his leadership in business and philanthropy.”

Knight is one of just seven new members in the section of business, corporate and philanthropic leadership. Membership is lifetime.

The AAAS convenes leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to address critical challenges facing global society. More than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners are among the academy’s fellows.

“What I find particularly gratifying about his election to the American Academy is that his contributions are recognized by those beyond the business community,” Richmond said. "Members from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including those in the humanities, arts, sciences, law and public policy, have chosen him as one of the elite new fellows added to the academy this year."

Knight, a 1959 UO graduate, and his wife, Penny, are among the largest philanthropic supporters of the UO. They have made major contributions to the transformation of the lives of students, faculty and community members.

Notable among their gifts are funding that currently supports 25 chairs and professorships spanning all schools and colleges at the UO, the construction of the William W. Knight Law Center, the expansion and renovation of the UO’s main library through a family gift and numerous gifts to athletics.

The Knights have also funded academics and research at Oregon Health & Science University and Stanford University. 

The AAAS also announced the election of UO psychology professor Paul Slovic, noted internationally for his research involving risk analysis and assessment, to its 2015 membership. See “UO’s Slovic elected into American Academy of Arts and Sciences” for a complete story.