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Rhodes Scholars

10 African-American students among the most diverse class of Rhodes scholars ever

Selections reflect ‘the rich diversity of America’

The list of 2018 Rhodes scholars is out and breaking records, with the most African-American students ever elected in a single class.

Ten African-American students are among the 32 men and women who will further their studies at the University of Oxford in England beginning next October. According to a press release, this year’s recipients will study social sciences, biological and medical sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, and the humanities.

The scholars were selected during a two-stage process in which they were first endorsed by their college or university. Out of the more than 2,500 students who sought endorsements from their institutions, 866 made the cut. The selections were turned over to the Committees of Selection in 16 U.S. districts, where the strongest applicants were interviewed.

The scholars were chosen based on academic excellence, personal energy, ambition for impact, an ability to work with others and to achieve one’s goals, commitment to making a strong difference in the world, concern for the welfare of others and ability to be conscious of inequities, according to the press release.

The 32 Rhodes scholars selected in the United States will join international scholars from 64 different countries. This year, 100 Rhodes scholars are set to be selected and given a scholarship that will take care of all expenses for two or three years (four years under special circumstances) at Oxford.

The 2018 class is the most diverse, according to Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary to the Rhodes Trust.

“This year’s selections — independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously — reflects the rich diversity of America,” Gerson said in a statement. “It includes, among others, ten African-Americans, the most-ever elected in a U.S. Rhodes class; African and Asian immigrants; other Asian, Muslim, and Latino Americans; an Alaskan Native (Aleut); a transgender man, the second self-acknowledged transgender Rhodes Scholar after Pema McLaughlin was elected last year; and four from colleges that have never-before elected Rhodes Scholars in the 115 years of the United States Rhodes Scholarships.”

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.