The Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, has announced a multimillion-dollar gift from Phil and Penny Knight to endow a new scholarship program and recruit and underwrite a director for the program. Phil Knight is co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc., the giant sportswear and equipment supplier based in Beaverton, Oregon.
The Knight Family Scholars Program will enable Catlin Gabel faculty to explore a new model for high school education. The program, which is designed for well-rounded students who stand out in academics, community service, athletics, and leadership, is expected to launch in the 2012-13 school year with four Knight Scholars.
In response to new ideas and trends in project-based, interdisciplinary high school education, the program will include a series of seminars to be developed collaboratively by the Knight Family Scholars program director, the school's first endowed faculty chair, and Catlin Gabel faculty. The seminars, which will take place both on and off campus and be open to all Catlin Gabel high school students, will examine topics that emerge from the shared interests of the students and the director as they move through the program and be taught by a network of community experts, including some of the school's notable parents, grandparents, and alumni.
"The Knight Family Scholars Program challenges Catlin Gabel to deliver high school education differently — allowing us to take risks about how and where we teach and learn," said Lark Palma, head of Catlin Gabel. "We are wonderfully excited about this opportunity and promise to share what we learn so that all high schools may benefit."