32 Americans Chosen as Rhodes Scholars

Author: The Rhodes Trust   |   Posted on: November 12, 2022

32 Americans Chosen as Rhodes Scholars WASHINGTON, DC – Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, today announced the names of the 32 Americans chosen as Rhodes Scholars. “For the third year, a class of Rhodes Scholars has been elected entirely virtually, with both candidates and selectors participating remotely, safely, and independently. As successful as the process was, we of course hope to return to in-person interviews and selection next year in cities across the country, as had been done for over a century.”

Gerson described this year’s class: “This year’s Rhodes Scholars representing the United States–elected by 16 independent committees around the country meeting simultaneously– will go to Oxford University in England next October to pursue graduate degrees across the breadth of the social sciences, humanities, and biological and physical sciences. They inspire us already with their accomplishments, but even more by their values-based leadership and selfless ambitions to improve their communities and the world.”

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford—ranked the #1 university in the world in some global rankings—and may allow funding in some instances for four years. Mr. Gerson called the Rhodes Scholarships, "the oldest and best-known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates." The Scholarships were created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founders, John McCall MacBain O.C. and The Atlantic Philanthropies, and many other generous benefactors. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904; those elected today will enter Oxford in October 2023.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. This year more than 2,500 students began the application process; 840 were endorsed by 244 different colleges and universities. Committees of Selection in each of 16 U.S. districts then invite the strongest applicants to appear before them for interview. Most districts interviewed 14 or more finalists.

The American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust explained that applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes. “These criteria include first and fundamentally, academic excellence. This is a critical but only threshold condition. A Rhodes Scholar should also have great ambition for social impact, and an uncommon ability to work with others to achieve one’s goals. They should be committed to make a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be acutely conscious of inequities.” Mr. Gerson added that “although the Trust strives for the most inclusive application pool possible through outreach and other efforts, consideration of balance or diversity are not factors in selection at either the national or district level.” And finally, he said, “a Rhodes Scholar should show great promise of leadership. In short, we seek outstanding young people of intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service. These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes’s hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an important and positive contribution throughout the world. In Rhodes’s words, his Scholars should 'esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim.”

Applicants in the United States may apply either through the State where they are legally resident or where they have attended college for at least two years. The district committees met separately, November 10, 11 and 12, through a virtual platform across the country. Each district committee made a final selection of two Rhodes Scholars from the candidates of the state or states within the district. Two-hundred thirty-five applicants from 73 different colleges and universities reached the final stage of the competition, including 9 that had never before had a student win a Rhodes Scholarship.

The 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen from the United States will join an international group of Scholars chosen from 23 other jurisdictions (more than 60 countries) around the world, and for the fourth year, two Scholars from any country in the world without its own Scholarship. Over one hundred Rhodes Scholars will be selected worldwide this year, including several who have attended American colleges and universities but who are not U.S. citizens and who have applied through their home country.

With the elections announced today, 3,610 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 327 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply, and 643 American women have now won the coveted scholarship. Approximately 2,000 American Rhodes Scholars are living in all parts of the U.S. and abroad.

The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master’s, doctoral) chosen. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. The total value of the Scholarship averages approximately $75,000 per year, and up to as much as approximately US$250,000 for Scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in certain departments.

For more information about the Rhodes Trust in Oxford and in the rest of the world, please contact Babette Littlemore at babette.littlemore@rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk.

For further information about the U.S. Rhodes Scholarships, please contact:
Elliot F. Gerson
American Secretary
The Rhodes Trust
8229 Boone Boulevard, Suite 240
Vienna, Virginia 22182

You may find photos of the winners on the global Rhodes Trust website, www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk, where they will be uploaded as soon as practicable, along with accurate updated short biographies.