Oldest University of the Pacific alum gives back in a big way

George Knoles, 107, gives more than $300K to alma mater days before his death

George Knoles, a historian whose family played an important role in the University of the Pacific's past, gave $303,000 to a graduate student scholarship at his alma mater just days before he died in his Palo Alto home on Aug. 27 at the age of 107, according to a press release.

Knoles and his late wife, Amandalee Barker, established the Barker-Knoles Endowed Scholarship in 2000, which provides scholarships to female graduate students studying history and humanities at the university.

"We are honored by the Knoles family's great legacy at University of the Pacific," said Pacific President Pamela Eibeck in the press release. "George and Amandalee deeply believed that women should enjoy the same academic opportunities as their male counterparts. They opened the door for more women to pursue graduate education by funding a scholarship endowment that will help students at Pacific for many decades to come."

On Aug. 22, Knoles saw to it that a final gift of $303,000 was transferred to the scholarship endowment. The gift qualifies for dollar-for-dollar matching funds from the $125 million Powell Fund, which was established by the late Robert and Jeannette Powell, former regents of the university. The Powell match brings the Knoles' gift to a total of more than $600,000.

Knoles was a professor of American history at Stanford University from 1935 until his retirement in 1972. He was the son of former Pacific President Tully Knoles, who oversaw the university's move from San Jose to Stockton in 1924.

George Knoles earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history at Pacific in 1928 and 1930, and Barker earned a bachelor's degree in education at the university in 1930.


1 person likes this
Posted by alumna
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Thank you to Mr. Knoles - he sounded like a special, kind and accomplished man. I knew the Knoles name when I was a student at this charming, small university some years ago.

1 person likes this
Posted by John Sylvester
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 28, 2014 at 10:51 am

Mr. Knoles' father, Tully Knoles, was still the chancellor at the then College of Pacific when I was a student there from 1953-1958. He, along with Amos Alonzo Stagg, were to be seen walking vigorously about the campus on a daily basis. They were both a great reminder of the rich tradition of this fine institution.

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