No Penn students receive Rhodes Scholarship
November 21, 2011, 12:47 am · Updated November 21, 2011, 1:53 pm·
For two consecutive years, no Penn students have received the Rhodes Scholarship.
Thirty-two American students were elected to American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2012 Saturday. They will receive tuition to study for two to three years at the University of Oxford, beginning in October.
“We’re extremely disappointed. Penn put forward several stellar candidates,” Aaron Olson, assistant director for communications at the Center of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, wrote in an email.
Like Penn, Cornell and Columbia universities and Dartmouth College saw no recipients this year. However, Brown, Harvard and Princeton universities each had four students receive the scholarship.
In 2008 and 2009, one Penn student received the scholarship, which is valued at about $50,000 per year.
This year, 2,000 students applied for the scholarship through their colleges and universities. Of these, 830 were endorsed by their schools.
“I cannot even begin to speculate as to why none of the great candidates we put forward were chosen by the Rhodes committees,” Olson wrote.
He added that at Penn, “CURF staff and other faculty and staff around campus put dozens of hours of work into each candidate we put forward, including advising, mock interviews and the like.”
Last year, CURF Director Harriet Joseph told The Daily Pennsylvanian that Penn’s lack of Rhodes scholars was based on the fact that other universities had offices focused on the scholarship for a long time and that Rhodes is trying to find students from universities outside the Ivies.
Olson insisted that CURF is doing all it can to help students qualify for the scholarship, explaining that “we have been and continue to work with Penn faculty, staff, students, and alumni to improve our ability to identify, recruit, and put forward the best possible candidates to all the major fellowships programs, including the Rhodes.”
This year’s winners include Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and director Woody Allen, according to a press release by the Rhodes Trust.
In addition to American Rhodes Scholars, around 50 other students are selected from 14 other jurisdictions around the world. These winners will be announced later this year.