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2015 Rhodes Scholars: Robert A. Fisher, Rachel V. Harmon, Ridwan Y. Hassen, Tayo A. Sanders II, and Sarah E. Yerima


Last month, The Rhodes Trust announced the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2015. The 2015 class consisted of 32 American students who will study at the University of Oxford in 2015. Out of the 32 American applicants chosen for the prestigious honor five were African-American/Black college students.

The students were selected from a pool of 877 students who were endorsed by 305 different colleges and universities. There were 207 finalists from 86 colleges and universities that were selected in 16 different geographic districts. Two scholars were named from each of the 16 districts, according to the news release.

Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust calls the Rhodes Scholarship “the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates.”

All Rhodes applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England, and may allow funding in some instances for four years.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom in partnership with the Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904. — The Rhodes Trust

Congrats to the winners and best of luck with your studies!

Learn more about the five Rhodes Scholars winners in our gallery.

To learn more about the Rhodes Scholarship please visit rhodesscholar.org

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  • Mary Burrell

    Want more of these kind of post. Please do more.

  • I wish the best for all of these human beings. Intellectual genius should be praised.

  • Objection

    In my opinion, Cecil J. Rhodes was not a good person towards people of color. I don’t think his scholarship fund can make up for the bad done to the people of South Africa.

    • Anthony

      Rhodes has been dead for 110 years. Young black folks might as well take his foundation’s money.

    • Objection

      The facts don’t lie. In the last 110 years, how many black people have benefited from the Rhodes Scholarship? In the last 110 years, how many black lives in South Africa have been ruined because of Rhodes’ ideas?

    • Anthony

      If you are a position to apply or receive a Rhodes Scholarship, don’t apply for or accept one. There is nothing wrong with taking a stand on principle. My position is that the past cannot be undone, and that it is on the government of South Africa to bring about a more just dispensation for its people. So far, it has not had the political will to do such a thing. As for African American students, if they qualify for the scholarship, they might as well get the money because somebody else will take it.

    • Objection

      You never answered my question. If African-Americans are going to celebrate and rejoice over blood money; at least have the decency to acknowledge how many African people suffered from your blood money.

    • Anthony

      If you want an actual number, I would estimate maybe sixty million people in South Africa proper and maybe another five million who were migrant workers in South African mines. The greater question, is that if you want to refuse any money that might be connected to racist exploitation, what funds are available to a promising young person?

    • Objection

      Thanks for answering Anthony. I personally believe this scholarship is immoral. The bad doesn’t outweigh the good. The choice is theirs, but black media should not ignore the misery this money caused.

      The greater question, is that if you want to refuse any money that might be connected to racist exploitation, what funds are available to a promising young person?

      My childhood friend is the smartest person I have ever known. He has a PhD in chemical engineering. He received scholarships to MIT from good sources. There are good scholarships out there that doesn’t have the connection to racist exploitation.

      Each of us can give to the United Negro College Fund. They take $10 gifts. Black people can support our children if we really cared. We have enough rich celebrities who can support five excellent students who deserve recognition for their hard work.

    • Anthony

      I agree that giving to the United Negro College Fund and creating our own scholarships is a great idea.

    • KamJos

      You make a good point.

    • paintgurl40

      Well considering what he did to become wealthy, it should go to the South Africans he stole land from or anyone of African descent. Just like the U.S wealth technically came from blood money too. I get what you are saying but I think that if anyone is a recipient of that scholarship money it should definitely be an African or African diaspora

    • BLKSAN

      I love the civilised nature of this discussion. I am a South African and it is very important to me that all people of African descent know who Rhodes was. Whether or not black people should accept this scholarship is another matter. But just to say, big black love people for caring enough to share some history without the usual descent into troll vibes.

    • Anthony

      I’ve been to your country maybe four times, and in so many ways, it reminds me of the USA. Recently, I was teaching a class on South African history, and I was struck by the fact that when the ANC negotiated for the transition, they pretty much allowed the 1913 Natives Land Act to stand, and only black folks removed from “Black Spots” had standing to go to court and get land. Twenty-one years later, your government seems to have given up on questions of land redistribution, just like reparations for slavery is a dead letter in America.

    • BLKSAN

      Sadly, whether black people are ready to realise it or not, and as controversial as it might be to point out, this is why the world (the white world which sets the agenda and opinions of the day) loves Nelson Mandela. Much of the status quo was left intact by his government. The main achievement of the ANC has been to lift sanctions leading to unimaginable profitability for SA’s white capital. The most honest recognition of the man is in the existence of the Rhodes Mandela Hotel. They are two sides of the same coin: cheap black labour (the purpose of the 1913 Land Act) and big white profits.

    • Objection

      I think a civilized society should not romanticize people. Telling the truth about history doesn’t mean you hate the person; it just gives the reader the opportunity to learn the complete story. The reader can form his or her own opinion once the complete facts have been revealed.

    • BLKSAN


  • mmmdot

    Congrats to all these hard-working students! I wish them luck in all their future endeavors!

    • Where you been girl?

    • mmmdot

      Hey, girl! Been taking a break from the hypocritical church people and misogynists for a bit, lol. How are you?

    • I’m good sis. Don’t let those jerks dull your shine, you are a beacon in these Diqsus streets. Don’t be a stranger.

    • You’re a very intelligent Sister. We have your back.

      RBG 4 Life.

  • YASS!