The College has a nice news release on its recent Rhodes Scholarship winners. I am not sure if there was any significance to the fact that both spent their junior years at Oxford. Several other winners seem to have also studied at Oxford. Given how famously insular the Rhodes world is — selection committees are dominated by past winners — I can imagine that having already demonstrated a love for all things Oxford is an advantage.

Not everyone in the Blogosphere is a fan of Rhodes Scholars. Andrew Sullivan writes that: “Almost to a man and woman, they are mega-losers, curriculum-vitae fetishists, with huge ambition and no concept of what to do with it.” The only Rhodes Scholar I have ever known personally was an fine fellow, now an Air Force doctor, so I can’t comment either way. I certainly hope that Ludwig and Ishizuka avoid this fate.

The Record article also notes that two seniors, Scott Grinsell (our erstwhile co-blogger) and Adam Grogg won Marshall Fellowships. Alas, Marshalls are not as hip as Rhodes, so Grinsell and Grogg get no news release.

“The performance [of this year’s senior class,] with those fellowships suggests that this was the strongest, perhaps, in the history of the College,” said Peter Grudin, assistant dean and overseer of post-graduate fellowships for the College. “It’s a very safe supposition that this total of four [Rhodes and Marshall] is among the highest.”

“I’ve been here 24 years and I’ve never seen a top three percent like the class of 2004,” he said. “I’m not at all surprised by the success of this year’s class…[these men and women] are of heroic character.”

“Heroic”? I am stand second to none in my relentless Eph-boosting, but this is really a bit much. There are heroes in this world, but winning a scholarship does not make you one. All the seniors here seem, from a distance, like perfectly fine folk, but none, as far as I can tell, has demonstrated “heroic character.” Of course, I am pretty sure that none of them, sensible 21 year olds that they are, would claim to have done so.

The Record article has lots of good details. My favorite parts:

Ludwig is a history major from Charlottesville, Va. who applied from West Virginia, where her family owns a farm and where she votes.

Smart girl! For those not in the know, Rhodes Scholarships are awarded regionally. That is, you are not competing with a national pool of people, just with those in your “District.” Most people think that competing in District 1 (with Massachusetts and Connecticut) is a lot harder than other districts.

Ishizuka, who does research in HIV/AIDS, is quoted as saying:

Ideally, I might like some day to be in a position from which I could influence economic policy and divert more resources to scientific research.

Ishizuka need look no further than his fellow Eph Ludwig for the “resources” he seeks to “divert.” Let’s pass a law whereby families with extra farms have to give them up to the government to fund scientific research. I am sure that Luwig’s family would be happy to give up their farm so as to fund Ishizuka’s post-doc.


Of course, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but resources don’t come out of thin air . . .

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