46 Facts About Phil Knight


Philip Hampson Knight was born on February 24,1938 and is an American billionaire business magnate who is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc.


Phil Knight was previously the chairman and CEO of the global sports equipment and apparel giant.


Phil Knight is the owner of the stop motion film production company Laika.


Phil Knight is a graduate of the University of Oregon and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Phil Knight was part of the track and field club under coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon with whom he would later co-found Nike.


Phil Knight has donated over $2 billion to these three institutions.


Phil Knight grew up in the Portland neighborhood of Eastmoreland, and attended Cleveland High School.

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Phil Knight continued his education at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he ran for the famed Oregon track and field program, was a sports reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.


That same year, Phil Knight received his Army Reserve Commission and was a "Distinguished Military Graduate".


In 1977, together with Bowerman and Geoff Hollister, Phil Knight founded an American running team called Athletics West.


Phil Knight then became an accounting professor at Portland State University.


Immediately after graduating from the University of Oregon, Phil Knight enlisted in the Army and served one year on active duty and seven years in the Army Reserve.


Phil Knight's ambition was to import high-quality and low-cost running shoes from Japan into the American market.


Phil Knight graduated with a master's degree in business administration from Stanford in 1962.


Phil Knight set out on a trip around the world after graduation, during which he made a stop in Kobe, Japan, in November 1962.


When Phil Knight finally received the shoe samples, he mailed two pairs to Bowerman at the University of Oregon, hoping to gain both a sale and an influential endorsement.


At Nike, Phil Knight developed personal relationships with some of the world's most recognizable athletes, including Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.


Phil Knight then invested $180 million into Laika, and the studio released its first feature film, Coraline, in stop motion, in 2009.


Coraline was a financial success and Travis Phil Knight was then promoted into the roles of Laika CEO and president.


In May 2004, two years after Phil Knight bought Vinton, his son Matthew, aged 34 years, traveled to El Salvador to film a fund-raising video for Christian Children of the World, a Portland nonprofit organization.


Phil Knight resigned as Nike CEO on November 18,2004, several months after Matthew's funeral but retained the position of chairman of the board.


In 1990, Knight founded the Philip H Knight Charitable Foundation Trust.


In 2006, Phil Knight donated US$105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which, at the time, was the largest ever individual donation to a US business school.


In 2016, it was announced that Phil Knight contributed $400 million to start the Phil Knight-Hennessy Scholars graduate-level education program inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship.


Contrary to press reports, which claim that Phil Knight financed the whole library renovation project, Phil Knight only financed a portion of the library's renovation.

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Phil Knight contributed towards the Moshofsky Center, which opened in 1998.


The 2010 construction of the UO basketball team's Matthew Phil Knight Arena was the result of a partnership between Phil Knight and former Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny.


Phil 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.


In 2021, Phil Knight helped to fund the renovation of Hayward Field, a track and field stadium at the university.


Phil Knight attended but did not graduate from UO, as he left the school with several credit hours still owing.


In October 2010, Phil Knight donated several million dollars to the Catlin Gabel School to establish a scholarship for incoming freshmen students.


On May 18,2012, Phil Knight contributed US$65,000 to a higher education Political Action Committee formed by Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle.


On September 27,2013, Phil Knight announced to the audience at the OHSU Phil Knight Cancer Institute's biennial gala, when he announced his intention to donate US$500 million for research if OHSU could match it over the subsequent two years.


On June 25,2015, OHSU met that $500 million goal, and Phil Knight announced his upcoming $500 million donation, to bring the total to $1 billion raised.


In December 2016, Phil Knight disclosed that he had donated $112 million in Nike stock to charity.


In 2000, Phil Knight was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for his Special Contribution to Sports in Oregon.


On February 24,2012, Phil Knight was announced as a 2012 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as a contributor.


In 1989, Phil Knight received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.


Phil Knight was one of the four final choices, along with Ducks track legend Steve Prefontaine; current NFL player Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner; and Sabrina Ionescu, who had just completed an epic college basketball career for the Ducks.


Phil Knight met his wife, Penelope "Penny" Parks, while he was working at Portland State University and they were married on September 13,1968.


Phil Knight is a registered Republican and a frequent contributor to Republican political candidates in Oregon.


Phil Knight donated $3.5 million to Republican Knute Buehler during the 2018 Oregon gubernatorial election.


Phil Knight was a major donor during the 2022 Oregon gubernatorial election.


Phil Knight gave $3.75 million to independent candidate Betsy Johnson until September 2022.


Also in 2022, Phil Knight donated $2 million to a political action committee seeking to elect Republican state legislators in Oregon.

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Phil Knight argued Oregon's government had drifted too far to the left and described himself as "more conservative than Nike," responding to criticism of him backing an anti-abortion candidate which apparently contrasted with the company's image of supporting progressive social justice causes.