Harvard leads the way as 32 American Rhodes scholars announced

Reuters

(Reuters) - Thirty-two Americans have been selected to head to Britain's Oxford University next year as Rhodes scholars, joining a prestigious list of past recipients of one of the most coveted awards in academia.

Six come from Harvard University, the most of any college this year, with Yale University and Stanford University producing three apiece.

The list of former recipients includes Nobel laureates and heads of state. The scholarships, created in 1902, cover the cost of a postgraduate degree at Oxford and other expenses.

The 2014 batch of American scholars announced on Saturday come from 21 U.S. states and plan to complete master's degrees or doctorates in subjects ranging from anthropology to neuroscience.

At Oxford, they will join about 50 other new Rhodes scholars from a dozen or so other countries. Winners are chosen for their "high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor," according to Elliot Gerson, the American secretary of the Rhodes Trust.

For example, Paolo Singer, a winner from New York City currently studying economics at Harvard, plays the piano, is a rower and competitive figure skater, and has worked on development programs in South Africa and India.

Timothy McGinnis, a winner from Charlotte, North Carolina, was the captain of the lacrosse team before graduating from Princeton University in June and heading to Sierra Leone to work for a healthcare clinic.

Previous American Rhodes scholars include: former President Bill Clinton, current national security adviser Susan Rice, former NBA star and senator Bill Bradley, current senators Cory Booker and David Vitter, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk, actor Kris Kristofferson, film director Terrence Malick, and journalists Nicholas Kristof and Rachel Maddow.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Will Dunham)

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