The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford. It was established in 1902, and soon became the most famous of numerous international scholarship programs. The founder, diamond magnate Cecil John Rhodes, wanted to promote unity between English-speaking nations and instill a sense of civic-minded leadership and moral fortitude in future leaders irrespective of their chosen career paths. Although initially restricted to male applicants from countries that are today within the British Commonwealth, as well as Germany and the United States, today the scholarship is open to applicants from all backgrounds and from across the globe. Since its creation, controversy has surrounded its former exclusion of women (thus leading to the establishment of the co-educational Marshall Scholarship).
Many Rhodes recipients have achieved fame as politicians, academics, scientists, authors, and entrepreneurs. Notable American political recipients include president of the United States Bill Clinton, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal, United States Senators John Neely Kennedy and Cory Booker, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Matthews Burwell. President of Pakistan Wasim Sajjad; prime minister of Malta Dom Mintoff; Australian Prime Ministers Tony Abbott, Bob Hawke, and Malcolm Turnbull; and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, are also Rhodes Scholars. Other notable Rhodes Scholars include journalist and American television host Rachel Maddow, author Naomi Wolf, mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg, president of Planned Parenthood Leana Wen, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow, and president of the Walmart Foundation Kathleen McLaughlin. The current Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, Elizabeth Kiss, is also a Rhodes Scholar.
Founding and motivation
Numerous international scholarship programs were underway by 1900. Since the 1880s governments, universities and individuals in the settler colonies had been establishing travelling scholarships to home universities. By 1900 the travelling scholarship had become an important part of settler universities’ educational visions. It served as a crucial mechanism by which they sought to claim their citizenship of what they saw as the expansive British academic world. The Rhodes program was a copy that soon became the best-known version. The Rhodes Trust established the scholarships in 1902 under the terms laid out in the sixth and final will of Cecil John Rhodes, dated 1 July 1899 and appended by several codicils through March 1902.
The scholarships were founded for two reasons: to promote unity within the British empire, and to strengthen diplomatic ties between Britain and the United States of America. In Rhodes' own words, "I ... desire to encourage and foster an appreciation of the advantages which I implicitly believe will result from the union of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world and to encourage in the students from North America who would benefit from the American Scholarships." Rhodes also bequeathed scholarships to German students in the hope that, "a good understanding between England, Germany and the United States of America will secure the peace of the world."
Rhodes, who attended Oriel College, Oxford, believed the university's residential colleges would be the best venue to nurture diplomatic ties between future world leaders.
To this day, controversies persist over Rhodes’ Anglo-supremacist beliefs, most of which date back to his 1877 confession of faith. However, such convictions did not play a part in the final vision for the scholarship. The scholarships are based on Rhodes' final will and testament, which states that "no student shall be qualified or disqualified for election ... on account of his race or religious opinions".
The Rhodes Scholarships are administered and awarded by the Rhodes Trust, which is located at Rhodes House in Oxford. The trust has been modified by four acts of Parliament: the Rhodes Estate Act 1916, the Rhodes Trust Act 1929, the Rhodes Trust Act 1946; and most recently by the Rhodes Trust (Modification) Order 1976, a statutory instrument in accordance with Section 78 (4) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
After Rhodes' death
In 1925, the Commonwealth Fund Fellowships (later renamed the Harkness Fellowships) were established to reciprocate the Rhodes Scholarships by enabling British graduates to study in the United States. The Kennedy Scholarship programme, created in 1966 as a memorial to John F. Kennedy, adopts a comparable selection process to the Rhodes Scholarships to allow ten British post-graduate students per year to study at either Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It also cooperates with universities in China, BLCC, for example. BLCC offers high-level scholarships for international students who aim to study Chinese in Beijing. In 1953, the Parliament of the United Kingdom created the Marshall Scholarship as a coeducational alternative to the Rhodes Scholarship that would serve as a "living gift" to the United States.
Cecil Rhodes wished current scholars and Rhodes alumni (in the words of his will) to have "opportunities of meeting and discussing their experiences and prospects". This has been reflected, for example, in the initiation by the first warden (Sir Francis Wylie), of an annual warden's Christmas letter (now supplemented by Rhodes e-news and other communications); the creation of alumni associations in several countries, most prominently the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (which publishes The American Oxonian, founded in 1914, and oversees the Eastman Professorship); and the holding of reunions for Rhodes Scholars of all countries.
In recognition of the centenary of the foundation of the Rhodes Trust in 2003, four former Rhodes Scholars were awarded honorary degrees by the University of Oxford. These were John Brademas, Bob Hawke (Western Australia and University 1953), Rex Nettleford and David R. Woods. During the centenary celebrations, the foundation of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation was also marked.
In 2013, during the 110th Rhodes anniversary celebrations, John McCall MacBain, Marcy McCall MacBain and the McCall MacBain Foundation donated £75 million towards the fundraising efforts of the Rhodes Trust.
In 2015, Rhodes Scholar R. W. Johnson published a critical account of the decline of the Rhodes Trust under its warden, John Rowett, and commended its recovery under wardens Donald Markwell and Charles R. Conn.
As of 2018, due to the introduction of the Global Rhodes Scholarships, the Rhodes Scholarship is open to postgraduate students from anywhere in the world. Many of its greatest scholars have carried out its founder's later ideal of “equal rights for all civilised men” becoming some of the foremost voices in human rights and social justice. Some have even engaged in criticism of Cecil Rhodes himself (see Rhodes must fall). Because access to further education, particularly post-graduate education, is linked with social mobility and racial wealth disparity, the scholarship (which is for post-graduate students) continues to attract criticism; however, the scholarship's recent partnership with the Atlantic Philanthropies is intended to help address those issues.
In 2019, University of Tennessee graduate Hera Jay Brown became the first transgender woman to be selected for a Rhodes Scholarship. Two non-binary scholars were also selected for the 2020 class.
Selection and selectivity
In his will, Rhodes specified that he did not want his scholarships to go to "merely bookworms." He wanted candidates assessed in regard to:
- his literary and scholastic attainments
- his fondness of and success in manly outdoor sports such as cricket, football and the like
- his qualities of manhood, truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for the protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness, and fellowship
- his exhibition during school days of moral force of character and of instincts to lead and to take an interest in his schoolmates for those latter attributes will be likely in after-life to guide him to esteem the performance of public duty as his highest aim
To assess candidates, Rhodes specified a 200-point scale, unequally applied to each of the four areas (3/10 to each of the first and third areas, 2/10 to each of the other two areas). The first area was to be judged by examination, the second and third by ballot from the candidate's fellow students, and the fourth by the headmaster of the candidate's school. The results for each candidate would be sent to the trustees of Rhodes's will, or their appointees, who would then give a final assessment by averaging the marks for each candidate. Except for the candidates submitted by the four schools in southern Africa, the trustees were vested with the final decisions.
Rhodes also added that the scholars should be distributed among the Colleges at Oxford, that the trustees could remove any scholar at their discretion, and that the trustees were to host an annual dinner so scholars could discuss their “experiences and prospects.” The trustees were also encouraged to invite to the dinner other “persons who have shown sympathy with the views expressed by me in this my Will.”
In 2018, the same criteria underwent revision, and now specify no gender. They are now:
- literary and scholastic attainments
- energy to use one's talents to the full
- truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
- moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings
Each country's scholarship varies in its selectivity. In the United States, applicants must first pass a university-internal endorsement process, then proceed to one of the 16 U.S. districts committees. In 2016, approximately 2,500 students sought their institution's endorsement for the American Rhodes scholarship, among those 882 from 311 institutions were university-endorsed, of whom 32 were ultimately elected. As such, the American Rhodes Scholarship is more selective than the Churchill Scholarship, Truman Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship, Gates Scholarship, and Mitchell Scholarship, but marginally less selective than the Marshall Scholarship in terms of university-endorsed applicants. In Canada between 1997 and 2002, there were an average of 234 university-endorsed applicants annually for 11 scholarships, for an acceptance rate of 4.7%. In addition, Canadian provinces differ widely in the number of applications received, with Ontario receiving 58 applications on average for 2 spots (3.4%) and Newfoundland and Labrador receiving 18 applications for 1 spot (5.7%). According to the Rhodes Trust, the overall global acceptance rate stands at 0.7%, making it one of the most competitive scholarships in the world.
An early change was the elimination of the scholarships for Germany during the First and Second World Wars. No German scholars were chosen from 1914 to 1929, nor from 1940 to 1969. Rhodes's bequest was whittled down considerably in the first decades after his death, as various scholarship trustees were forced to pay taxes upon their own deaths. A change occurred in 1929, when an Act of Parliament established a fund separate from the original proceeds of Rhodes's will and made it possible to expand the number of scholarships. Between 1993 and 1995, scholarships were extended to other countries in the European Community.
Rhodes Scholars may study any full-time postgraduate course offered by the university, whether a taught master's programme, a research degree, or a second undergraduate degree (senior status). In the first instance, the scholarship is awarded for two years. However, it may also be held for one year or three years. Applications for a third year are considered during the course of the second year. University and college fees are paid by the Rhodes Trust. In addition, scholars receive a monthly maintenance stipend to cover accommodation and living expenses. Although all scholars become affiliated with a residential college while at Oxford, they also enjoy access to Rhodes House, an early 20th-century mansion with numerous public rooms, gardens, a library, study areas, and other facilities.
Allocation of scholarships
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Four South African boys' schools were mentioned in Rhodes' will, each to receive an annual scholarship: the Boys High School in Stellenbosch (today known as Paul Roos Gymnasium); the Diocesan College (Bishops) in Rondebosch; the South African College Schools (SACS) in Newlands; and St Andrew's College in Grahamstown. These have subsequently been opened also to former students of their partner schools (girls' or co-educational schools).
During the ensuing 100 years, the trustees have added about another 40 scholarships at one time or another, though not all have continued. Some of these extended the scheme to Commonwealth countries not mentioned in the will. A more detailed allocation by region by year can be found at Rhodes Scholarship Allocations. Very brief summaries of some of the terms and conditions can be found on the trust's website. Complete details can be obtained from the nominating countries.
As of 2018, scholars are selected from over 20 Rhodes constituencies (64 different countries) worldwide. In 2015, the Rhodes Scholarship extended into new territories, first with the announcement of a number of scholarships for China, later with the announcement of one to two scholarships per year for the United Arab Emirates. The organisation administering the scholarships is preparing to begin naming scholars from China. The move into China is the biggest expansion since women became eligible in the 1970s.
Exclusion of women
The Rhodes Scholarship was originally, as per the language used in Rhodes's will, open only to "male students". That stipulation would not change until 1977. Rhodes developed his scholarships partly through conversation with William Thomas Stead, editor of The Pall Mall Gazette and confidant of Rhodes, and at one time an executor of the Will who was stricken from the role when he objected to Rhodes's ill-fated effort to seize the Transvaal. Shortly after Rhodes's death, Stead implied in a published article about the Will that he suggested that Rhodes open the scholarships to women. But Rhodes refused. Nothing more is said on the matter.
After his death, the will was under the control of the Board of Trustees of the Rhodes Trust. In 1916, however, the trustees introduced a bill into the House of Commons that, catering to popular British sentiment during the War, "revoked and annulled" the scholarships for Germans. Since then, legal control over the will has resided with Parliament.
In 1970, the trustees established the Rhodes Visiting Fellowships. Unlike the regular scholarship, a Visiting Fellow was expected to have a doctorate or comparable degree, and to use the two-year funded study to engage in independent research. Only 33 Visiting Fellowships were awarded.
In 1975, Parliament passed the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 that banned discrimination based on sex, including in education. The trustees then applied to the Secretary of State for Education to admit women into the scholarship, and in 1976 the request was granted. In 1977, women were finally admitted to the full scholarship. Before Parliament passed the 1975 Act, some universities protested against the exclusion of women by nominating female candidates, who were later disqualified at the state level of the American competition. In 1977, the first year women were eligible, 24 women (out of 72 total scholars) were selected worldwide, with 13 women and 19 men selected from the United States. Since then, the average female share of the scholarship in the United States had been around 35 percent.
In his 2008 book Legacy: Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarship (Yale University Press), biographer and historian Philip Ziegler writes that "The advent of women does not seem notably to have affected the balance of Scholars among the various professions, though it has reduced the incidence of worldly success." The idea has persisted that women Rhodes Scholars are less successful overall than their male peers. But the Rhodes Project seeks to challenge this idea.
In South Africa, the will of Cecil Rhodes expressly allocated scholarships to four all-male private schools. In 1992, one of the four schools partnered with an all-girls school in order to allow female applicants. In 2012, the three remaining schools followed suit to allow women to apply. Today, four of the nine scholarships allocated to South Africa are open only to students and alumni of these schools and partner schools.
Exclusion of black Africans
Rhodes clearly specified in the will that "No student shall be qualified or disqualified for election to a Scholarship on account of his race or religious opinions." Rhodes often in his writings used the word "race" with reference to black Africans, what he called "natives". In the context of the historical era, it would have been entirely out of character for Rhodes, and seen as absurd by the trustees and Oxford, to suggest that some of the scholarships might go to Africans. Furthermore, as Rhodes himself knew, and as Oxford University insisted in the early years of the scholarships, all applicants for the scholarship were required to pass the entrance exam for Oxford, or its equivalent, called Responsions, which included ancient Greek and Latin. It would have been highly unusual for any Africans in that era to be admitted into those European schools in southern Africa that taught such subjects. Rhodes's scholarships intentionally excluded women and Africans, and those stipulations were followed carefully in the implementation. Nothing in the will or in any of Rhodes' other writings suggests his desire to educate non-Europeans. In fact, the four South African schools named by Rhodes only admitted whites, and would not open their doors to black Africans until the end of apartheid in the early 1990s.
Beginning in 1970, scholars began protesting against the fact that all Rhodes Scholars from southern Africa were white, with 120 Oxford dons and 80 of the 145 Rhodes Scholars in residence at the time signing a petition calling for non-white scholars to be elected in 1971.:238 The case of South Africa was especially difficult to resolve, because in his will establishing the scholarships, unlike for other constituencies, Rhodes specifically allocated four scholarships to alumni of four white-only private secondary schools. According to Schaeper and Schaeper,:236–237 the issue became "explosive" in the 1970s and 1980s as scholars argued that the scholarship be changed while the trustees argued they were powerless to change the will. Despite such protests, only in 1991 with the rise of the African National Congress did black South Africans begin to win the scholarships.:240
Out of five thousand Rhodes Scholarships awarded between 1903 and 1990, about nine hundred went to students from Africa.
Criticism of Rhodes as colonialist
Public criticism of the scholarship has also focused on Cecil Rhodes's white supremacist views. For example, in 1966, regional committees in interviews asked a white American candidate to assure them he would not publicly belittle the scholarship after he referred to its founding on "blood money".:238 In 2015, a South African Rhodes Scholar, Ntokozo Qwabe, began a campaign to address Rhodes' controversial historical and political legacy, with a focus on Qwabe's own views which included such statements as "dismantling the open glorification of colonial genocide in educational and other public spaces – which makes it easy for British people to believe that these genocides were 'not that bad' – and props up the continuing structural legacies of British colonialism, neocolonialism, and ongoing imperialism". Among other things, the campaign called for the removal of a statue of Rhodes from Oriel College and changes to Oxford's curriculum. While the college agreed to review the placement of the statue, the Chancellor of the university, Lord Patten, was critical of the accuracy of Qwabe's statements and warned against "pandering to contemporary views".
A group of Rhodes Scholars also created the group Redress Rhodes whose mission was to "attain a more critical, honest, and inclusive reflection of the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes" and to "make reparative justice a more central theme for Rhodes Scholars." Their demands include, among other things, shifting the Rhodes Scholarships awarded exclusively to previously all-white South African schools (rather than the at-large national pool), dedicating a "space at Rhodes House for the critical engagement with Cecil Rhodes' legacy, as well as imperial history", and ending a ceremonial toast Rhodes Scholars make to the founder. While the group does not have a position on the removal of the statue, its co-founder has called for the scholarship to be renamed as it is "the ultimate form of veneration and colonial apologism; it's a large part of why many continue to understand Rhodes as a benevolent founder and benefactor."
Public criticism has also focused on the alleged hypocrisy of applying for and accepting the Rhodes Scholarship while criticising it, with University of Cambridge academic Mary Beard, writing in The Times Literary Supplement, arguing that Scholars "[could not] have your cake and eat it here: I mean you can't whitewash Rhodes out of history, but go on using his cash." Reacting to this criticism, Qwabe replied that "all that [Rhodes] looted must absolutely be returned immediately. I'm no beneficiary of Rhodes. I'm a beneficiary of the resources and labour of my people which Rhodes pillaged and slaved." A group of 198 Rhodes Scholars of various years later signed a statement supporting Qwabe and arguing that there was "no hypocrisy in being a recipient of a Rhodes scholarship and being publicly critical of Cecil Rhodes and his legacy – a legacy that continues to alienate, silence, exclude and dehumanise in unacceptable ways. There is no clause that binds us to find 'the good' in Rhodes' character, nor to sanitise the imperialist, colonial agenda he propagated."
Criticism over recipients not entering public service
The tendency of a growing number of Rhodes Scholars to enter business or private law, as opposed to public service for which the scholarship was intended, has been a source of frequent criticism and "occasional embarrassment". Writing in 2009, the Secretary of the Rhodes Trust criticised the trend of Rhodes Scholars to pursue careers in finance and business, noting that "more than twice as many [now] went into business in just one year than did in the entire 1970s", attributing it to "grotesque" remuneration offered by such occupations. At least "a half dozen" 1990s Rhodes Scholars became partners at Goldman Sachs and, since the 1980s, McKinsey has had numerous Rhodes Scholars as partners. Similarly, of Rhodes Scholars who became attorneys, about one-third serve as staff attorneys for private corporations, while another third remain in private practice or academic posts.
According to Schaeper and Schaper, "From 1904 to the present, the programme's critics have had two main themes: first, that too many scholars were content with comfortable, safe jobs in academe, in law, and in business; second, that too few had careers in government or other fields where public service was the number-one goal." Andrew Sullivan wrote in 1988 that "of the 1,900 or so living American scholars ... about 250 fill middle-rank administrative and professorial positions in middle-rank state colleges and universities ... [while] another 260...have ended up as lawyers."
Quality of post-graduate education at Oxford
In 2007, an op-ed in The Harvard Crimson by two American Rhodes Scholars caused an "international row over Oxford's status as a top university" when they criticised the university's post-graduate education as "outdated" and "frustrating" in comparison to their education in the United States, specifically pointing to the perceived low quality of instruction and an insufficient scholarship stipend for living expenses. They also criticised the Rhodes application process itself, arguing that potential applicants should not apply unless they are "ready to study and live in Oxford."
The original op-ed spurred responses on both sides of the Atlantic. Other students criticised the authors for their tone of "ingratitude and entitlement," while The Sunday Times noted that it fueled the "long rivalry between Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford" and existing concerns about the quality of British graduate education. In response, the Rhodes Trust released two statements, one to The Sunday Times saying that "the criticisms ... are unrepresentative of the vast majority of Americans" studying at Oxford, and another as a reply to the original op-ed arguing that "false expectations," particularly for those uncertain about their degree choice, and going to Oxford for the "wrong reasons," could contribute to dissatisfaction.
Notable scholars and career trajectories
Surveying the history of the Rhodes Scholarship, Schaeper and Schaeper conclude that while "few of them have 'changed the world' ... most of them have been a credit to their professions ... and communities", finding that "the great majority of Rhodes Scholars have had solid, respectable careers." Eight former Rhodes scholars subsequently became heads of government or heads of state, including Wasim Sajjad (Pakistan), Bill Clinton (United States), Dom Mintoff (Malta), John Turner (Canada), Norman Manley (Jamaica) and three Australian Prime Ministers: Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.
From 1951 to 1997, 32% of American Rhodes Scholars pursued careers in education and academia, 20% in law, 15% in business and 10% in medicine and science. Although Cecil Rhodes imagined that scholars would "pursue a full-time career in government [...] the number of scholars in local, state and federal government has remained at a steady 7 percent" over the past century. Of the 200 or so scholars who have spent their careers in government, "most of them have had solid, but undistinguished careers," while "perhaps forty or more can be said to have had a significant, national impact in their particular areas."
The highest-ranking career choice for Rhodes Scholars is education and academia, with many becoming deans of law and medical schools and others becoming professors and lecturers. Many of the most distinguished Rhodes Scholars, such as Zambian activist Lucy Banda, have become prominent members of the civil rights movement. In 1990, third-wave feminist author Naomi Wolf put forward ideas about beauty and power with her book The Beauty Myth, ushering in a new type of feminism that has risen to prominence in the digital age.
Rhodes Scholars have had a notable impact in the fields of medicine and science. Howard Florey was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1922 after studying medicine at Adelaide Medical school. In 1939 Florey, along with fellow scientist Ernst Boris Chain, led the team that successfully isolated and purified penicillin.
Challenging some of the convictions of the scholarship's founder is not a recent occurrence. As early as 1931, Afrikaans-born anti-apartheid lawyer Bram Fischer and Rhodes Scholar campaigned for equal rights for all South Africans. This led him to join the Communist Party of South Africa. Fischer was struck off the roll by the Johannesburg Bar Council in 1965 after he skipped bail on charges under the Suppression of Communism Act. He was later arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Other Rhodes Scholars have taken on difficult social causes with more success. The Rhodes Scholar Fred Paterson defended workers and unions at a reduced price, before he sat in parliament as the first and only Communist party member in Australian history. In 1980, former Rhodes Scholar Ann Olivarius sued Yale University over their mis-handling of on-campus sexual harassment complaints.
Education and child welfare
After leaving Oxford to write his first novel, former Rhodes Scholar Jonathan Kozol volunteered as a teacher in Roxbury, Boston. He would go on to write Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools, after witnessing first-hand the devastating effect educational inequality was having on America. Rhodes Scholars Marc Kielburger and Roxanne Joyal conduct similar work with their organisation Free the Children. Together they build schools and educate children in developing countries across Africa.
Civil and human rights
Much of the Rhodes Alumni's civil and human rights work has been focussed in Africa, particularly South Africa. South African Justice Edwin Cameron initially focussed his attention on law and employment law, but later worked in the field of LGBT rights as well as co-founding the Aids Consortium. Two-time Pulitzer-winning journalist Nick Kristof was pivotal in shedding light on atrocities such as Tiananmen Square and the genocide in Darfur. Professor Sandra Fredman has also written extensively on anti-discrimination law, human rights law and labour law. Rhiana Gunn-Wright was the creator of the Green New Deal.
In 2014, Iranian Rhodes Scholar and front-person for indie-rock band Thousand Days, Pardis Sabeti, used genome sequencing and computational genetics to identify the source of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Another Rhodes Scholar working in genome research is the mathematician and geneticist Eric Lander. His ideas in human genetics, particularly mapping and sequencing, led to the creation of the Cancer Genome Atlas.
Disease and epidemiology
Dr Salim Yusuf, an Indian scholar, conducted significant research into respiratory health and its relationship to developing economies. He observed that shifts in the developing world, particularly dietary changes and increased urbanisation, lead to higher incidences of heart attacks and strokes.
In Zimbabwe, Dr A Tariro Makadzange has researched perinatally infected children with HIV and HIV-positive adults with cryptococcal disease. Since graduating from Oxford, she has set up a new infectious disease laboratory at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.
After studying at Oxford, surgeon and author Atul Gawande became an advisor to Bill Clinton and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. In recent years he has devised an innovative checklist for a successful surgery. Other surgical innovations brought about by Rhodes Scholars include the GliaSite technique, a device that lowers the risks associated with radiation therapy in brain tumours. Neurosurgeon Griffith Harsh created the GliaSite device.
One of the first recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship was the American poet, educator and critic John Crowe Ransom. He became a founding member of the influential Fugitive literary group. A contemporary of Ransom's who also became a Rhodes Scholar was Robert Penn Warren. Warren was lambasted by his peers who told him that the study of English literature was a soft option; seeking to rebut such attacks, he introduced new critical ideas into the study of poetry and fiction, and these ideas went on to change how literature was taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, not only in America itself.
Roughly 90 years prior, the phrase “keeping it real” was used by Rhodes scholar Alain Locke in his book The New Negro, to describe the pursuit of in the face of mainstream media's portrayal of African American culture. Locke's work inspired the Harlem Renaissance movement, and “keeping it real” has since become a universally recognised hip-hop ethos.
Science and technology
After studying ion propulsion at Oxford, Dr. Jennifer Gruber embarked on a career as a space engineer. She is currently coordinating missions between the Johnson Space Center and the International Space Station as an employee of NASA.
Rhodes Scholar Brian Greene co-founded ISCAP, Columbia's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics. As well as winning a Pulitzer for non-fiction, Greene made some ground-breaking discoveries in the field of superstring theory and was one of the cosmologists to co-discover superstring theory.
Comparison to other post-graduate scholarships
As the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, the Rhodes Scholarship inspired the creation of other awards, including:
- The international Fulbright Program to teach study and research or teach English in over 150 countries (1946)
- The Marshall Scholarship for Americans to study at any university in the United Kingdom (1953), an official British scholarship scheme for Americans
- The Chevening Scholarship for citizens from 144 countries and territories to undertake postgraduate studies or courses in universities in the United Kingdom (1983), an official British scholarship scheme for countries other than the United States
- The Churchill Scholarship for Americans to study at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge (1959)
- The Kennedy Scholarship for British nationals to study at Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1964)
- The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship from European Commission for doctoral and post-doctoral research in Europe (1996)
- The Harkness Fellowship for citizens of nine countries to conduct research related to health policy in the United States (1997)
- The Mitchell Scholarship for Americans to study at any university in Ireland (2000)
- The international Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge (2000)
- The Clarendon Scholarship for "the best and brightest minds in any given field" to pursue post-graduate study at the University of Oxford (2001)
- The John Monash Scholarship for Australians to study at any university worldwide (2004)
- The Erasmus Mundus Fellowship from European Commission for post-graduate study and doctoral research in Europe (2004)
- The international Yenching Scholarship for study at Peking University (2015)
- The international Schwarzman Scholarship for study at Tsinghua University (2016)
- The international Knight-Hennessy Scholars to study at Stanford University (2018)
In structure and selection criteria, the scholarship is most similar to the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship and UK Fulbright Program. Like the Rhodes, the Marshall is a two-stage geographic scholarship organised through districts in selecting countries. Like the Gates Cambridge, the Rhodes is tenable at only one university. In structure, the Marshall Scholarship is more flexible than the Rhodes Scholarship, in that Marshall Scholars can study at any British university and can also attend a different university each year during a scholar's tenure. In addition, a limited number of one-year Marshall scholarships are available. The Marshall Scholarship also places a greater emphasis on academic achievement and potential, requiring a minimum grade point average of 3.7. For example, winners of the Marshall Scholarship from Harvard University have had average GPAs of 3.92, while winners of the Rhodes Scholarship from Harvard have had an average GPA of 3.8.
- List of Rhodes Scholars
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- Chevening Scholarship
- Fulbright Scholarship
- Marshall Scholarship
- Clarendon Scholarship
- Jardine Scholarship
- Knight-Hennessy Scholars
- Thouron Award
- Schwarzman Scholars
- Yenching Academy
- Rise (education program)
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Books by former Wardens of Rhodes House, Oxford:
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- Donald Markwell, "Instincts to Lead": On Leadership, Peace, and Education, 2013.