Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, announced on December 7 the names of thirty-two American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars, including Ms. Sue Ming of Harvard University. They will enter the University of Oxford in England one hundred years after the first class of Rhodes Scholars did in 1903. The Scholars were chosen today from 981 applicants who were endorsed by 341 colleges and universities in a nationwide competition. Rhodes Scholarships provide two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The Rhodes Scholarships, oldest of the international study awards available to American students, were created in 1902 by the Will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and colonial pioneer.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a three-stage process. First, candidates must be endorsed by their college or university. Committees of Selection in each of the fifty states then nominate candidates who are interviewed by District Selection Committees in eight regions of the United States.
Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes. These criteria are high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor. These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes's hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an effective and positive contribution throughout the world. As he wrote, Rhodes Scholars should "esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim."
With the elections announced today, 2,982 Americans have won Rhodes Scholarships, representing 305 colleges and universities. Since 1976, women have been eligible to apply and through 2001, 323 women have won the much-coveted scholarship. Approximately 1,800 American Rhodes Scholars are living in all parts of the U. S. and abroad. In this year's competition, a Rhodes Scholar was elected for the first time from the University of Central Florida.