The Rhodes Scholarship
Rhodes Scholarships are one of the most prestigious and sought after study awards in the world. They offer their recipients the resources to explore scholastically, study overseas, and the financial assistance needed to research a specific area of study.
The Rhodes Scholarship was established by British colonialist and philanthropist Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and it is the oldest international study award available to American students. The scholarship provides a master’s or doctoral degree at Oxford University, acquired in a two to three year period. All of the fees and stipends needed to cover expenses at Oxford are provided by the Scholarship, and its value is estimated at $30,000. There is a lengthy process in which the Rhodes Scholars are decided. In order to become a Rhodes Scholar students must first be endorsed by the college or university that they attend. Selection committees in each of the fifty states then nominate candidates, who are then reviewed by the District Selection Committees in eight regions of the US. Ultimately the applicants are selected based on the criteria laid out by Cecil Rhodes when he founded the award. Scholastic achievements, physical abilities and energy, integrity, leadership, respectfulness, unselfishness, and overall character are all weighed into the final decision. Each year thirty-two American men and women are chosen, and 2002 marked the one-hundredth year of the scholarship program. In 2002, 981 applied for the award.
Since 1976 women have been eligible for the award, and in 2002 the Scholars came not only from Harvard, but state Universities such as Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah, and Central Florida. Many have had to overcome a great amount of adversity and have faced real challenges in their lives. In 2002 awards were given to Marianna Ofusu, a student at Howard University in Washington who is a Latin American dance champion; and Kamyar Cyrus Habib, a student at Columbia University who has a black belt in karate, is an accomplished photographer, a downhill skier, and blind; and Devi Shridhar a student at the University of Miami, who is fluent in five languages, a published author, and he has been admitted to medical school. One of the most interesting of the chosen Rhodes Scholars is Chesa Boudin, whose parents are both in jail for involvement in the Brink’s robbery in Rockland County. These new generations of Rhodes Scholars represent more than the sum of their shining resumes and are mature, thoughtful, and passionate about a diverse array of fields.#