32 Americans have been elected as winners of the US Rhodes Scholarship for 2021. From an initial group of 2,300 US students, the group have been chosen in what has been the Scholarship’s first virtual application process. Cherwell also spoke to Victoria Puglia, one of the 2021 Rhodes Scholars, here.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarship programmes and enables its recipients to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.

The American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, Elliot Gerson, said in a press release from the Rhodes Trust: “Never before has a class of Rhodes Scholars been elected entirely virtually, with both candidates and selectors participating safely, independently and digitally.

“This year’s American Rhodes Scholars —independently elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously—reflect the remarkable diversity that characterizes and strengthens the United States. …are leaders already, and we are confident that their contributions to public welfare globally will expand exponentially over the course of their careers.”

“These young Americans will go to Oxford next October to study in fields broadly across the social, biological and physical sciences, the humanities, and public policy. They are leaders already, and we are confident that their contributions to public welfare globally will expand exponentially over the course of their careers.”

Previous recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship have achieved success in a variety of fields, including politics, journalism and science. Notable past winners from the USA include President Bill Clinton, American television host Rachel Maddow and Ambassador Susan Rice.

The Scholarship begin in 1902, following its establishment by Cecil Rhodes, a British diamond magnate. Rhodes set out a specific criteria for allocating the scholarships, including “literary and scholastic attainments…fondness and success in many outdoor sports…and qualities of manhood” among others. Rhodes originally stipulated that the scholarship was only to be provided to “male students”. This was only changed in 1977.

Cecil Rhodes has since become a controversial figure, and this has extended towards his projects, for his support of white Anglo-Saxon supremacy and imperialism. Rhodes sought, in his own words, “the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole world under British rule”, and wrote in his will that “I contend that we are the finest race in the world”.

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