Nearly half of this year’s class of US Rhodes Scholars are first-generation Americans

Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 25, 2019

The Rhodes Trust has announced the diverse class of American students who will study at the University of Oxford beginning next year as Rhodes Scholars.

Collectively, the 32 winners mark the third consecutive year that the majority are minorities, and nearly half are first-generation Americans, according to the trust.

“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars—independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously—once again reflect the extraordinary diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States,” Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a statement.

“They will go to Oxford in September 2020 to study in fields broadly across the social, biological and physical sciences, and in the humanities. They are leaders already, and we expect their impact to expand exponentially over the course of their public-spirited careers,” he said.

The winners include Kristine E. Guillaume, the first black woman President of the Harvard Crimson, Daine A. Van de Wall, Brigade Commander at West Point, and Hera Jay Brown, a Fulbright-Schuman fellow who the trust says is the first transgender woman selected for the program.

You can see the full list of biographies here.

Created in 1902 by Oxford alum Cecil Rhodes, the scholarship was created to bring people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. Students are nominated by their school, and there were 963 applicants from the United States this year, according to the trust.

“We find, bring together and develop exceptional people who are impatient with the way things are and have the courage to act,” the trust said on its website.

The new class will begin their studies at Oxford in October 2020.

Last year’s class included several immigrants, refugees and children of immigrants representing Saudi Arabian, Iranian, Ethiopian, Indian and Mexican heritages, among others. And among its ranks was the first undocumented immigrant protected under DACA.

At least 21 of the 32 recipients identified as women, the most ever in an American Rhodes class. It’s worth a note that the scholarship, which was founded in 1902, wasn’t open to women until 1976.