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Poole College announces Clifton Brooks Knight Jr. and Raya Keis Knight Scholarship Fund

The Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University announces today the creation of the Clifton Brooks Knight Jr. and Raya Keis Knight Scholarship Fund. The bequest from Clif and Raya Knight will support endowed merit scholarships at the college.

Established in 1992, Poole College is increasingly being recognized not only for its academics but also for its emphasis on personal and professional development and for providing an outstanding entrepreneurial and real-world business education. 

“Scholarships enable students to more fully embrace academic opportunities and they help North Carolina State attract a range of scholars with enormous potential. The Knights’ transformational gift will create a legacy benefiting countless future Poole College of Management students,” said Ira R. Weiss, Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Dean’s Chair at Poole College. 

“From day one, Poole College undergraduate students are expected to get involved – to join campus life opportunities, to pursue internships with local corporations, to participate in competitions, and to gain international experience through study or work abroad. These experiences help to create career-ready, action-oriented leaders,” Weiss said. It also makes a difference in the job market, as recruiters rank North Carolina State graduates among the top 20 most desirable (Wall Street Journal). 

Clif Knight’s experience at North Carolina State University in the late 1960s prepared him well for continuing his education and launching a successful professional career. This transformational gift from Clif Knight and his wife, Raya, will enable many future NC State students to build the same strong foundation. 

“Being in college in Raleigh in the late 1960s was an incredible learning experience and hugely good fun. I felt very lucky to have had that opportunity,” Knight said. Most of all, he said, “the experience at North Carolina State gave me the sense that I could achieve whatever I might set my mind to. It gave me a lot of confidence.”

Knight earned bachelors degrees in economics (1969) and sociology (1970) at North Carolina State University and went on to earn his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1974 and his MBA from New York University in 1986. He serves as executive vice president for legal and business affairs and chief ethics and compliance officer at Bookspan LLC, headquartered in New York City. Bookspan operates iconic book clubs, including Doubleday, Literary Guild and Book of the Month and is one of the largest direct-to-consumer distributors of media products in the United States. 

“I love what is happening at the College of Management,” Knight said. “There are clear long-term strategies at both the university level and at Poole College in terms of student development,” he said. “The college is giving students real-world experience and putting them in a frame of mind to be business leaders. My commitment to the university and college is based on my firm belief that supporting North Carolina State and the College of Management is a great investment and will have very real, tangible results for students in the future,” he said.

The gift furthers the Knights’ impact on North Carolina State University. Clif Knight was elected to a four-year term on the NCSU Foundation Board of Directors, starting in July 2014. He is a charter member of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and is a member of the Alumni Association. The Knights have been members of the Chancellor’s Circle for several years and recently were inducted into the R. Stanhope Pullen Society.

“We are proud of Clif’s tremendously successful business career and thankful for the numerous ways he has given back – and continues to give back – to the Poole College and North Carolina State,” Weiss said.