Philip Knisely (MBA ’78) Receives UVA Darden’s Highest Alumni Honor

By Jay Hodgkins

Philip Knisely (MBA ’78) was recognized with the Charles C. Abbott Award 30 April at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The award is the highest honor the Darden School bestows upon alumni, and was announced by Darden Alumni Association Board of Directors Chair Doug Moore (MBA ’80) during the State of the School program at the 2016 Darden Alumni Reunion.

“We’ve had nearly 12,000 graduates at this School, only 24 of whom have become Charles C. Abbott Award winners,” Moore said. “[Knisely] has provided extraordinary leadership and counsel to the Darden School.”

The Abbott Award is presented annually to an alumnus or alumnae of the Darden School or The Executive Program for outstanding contributions of time, energy and talent.

“Over the years, my engagement has changed and deepened from recruiting to teaching in classes to my time on the [Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees],” Knisely said via video address to a crowd of several hundred alumni gathered in Abbott Auditorium on the Darden Grounds.

Knisely, who currently serves as an advisor to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, chairman of Atkore International and on the board of Beacon Roofing Supply, retired from Danaher Corp. as executive vice president in 2010. His career also included stints as president of AMF and CEO of Colfax Corp. He began his career after Darden at Emerson Electric. At Darden, Knisely received the prestigious Shermet Award, given to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their First Year.

An official proclamation made in honor of Knisely’s recognition as the 2016 Abbott Award recipient noted that he “personifies Darden’s mission, values and principles through his leadership.”

He and his wife, Pattie, established the Philip W. Knisely Fellowship Fund in 2011 to support outstanding students at Darden. During his nine years on the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, including two as chair, Knisely was known for the counsel and guidance he provided to School leaders and new trustees. He also designed a process for the selection and recruitment of new trustees through his role building the board’s Nominating & Governance Committee.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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