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Justin Hadad, a 2017 St. Charles Preparatory School graduate and a 2021 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named as one of 32 Rhodes Scholars-elect across the United States for 2022.
Hadad is the only student from Ohio who was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, according to the Rhodes Trust, the nonprofit organization based at England’s University of Oxford that issues the scholarships.
Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The scholarships are considered “the oldest and best-known award for international study and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates,” said Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust.
Hadad said he still is processing being named a Rhodes Scholar.
“I’m humbled and excited to get started,” Hadad, 22, said by phone from Zurich, Switzerland, where he works in market design, an area of economics that focuses on how financial markets function.
The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British mining magnate. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904; the new class announced this fall will enter Oxford in October 2022.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their colleges or universities.
“A Rhodes Scholar should show great promise of leadership,” Gerson said in a release. “In short, we seek outstanding young people of intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service. These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes’ hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an important and positive contribution throughout the world.”
Hadad was selected from among 826 applicants from 247 colleges and universities, according to the Rhodes Trust. Committees of Selection in 16 U.S. districts then invited the strongest applicants to appear before them for interviews. Each district interviewed at least 14 finalists.
At UNC, Hadad, whose family lives in Dublin, majored in economics and applied physics and minored in Latin. He was a Morehead-Cain Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an honors UNC laureate and an entrepreneur.
Hadad has helped Silicon Valley companies Carbon and Zoomo design algorithms to analyze three-dimensional printed parts and develop infrastructures for theft recovery. He also served as a research fellow for Louisville Forward, creating new financial policies for immigrants in that Kentucky city. After graduating, Hadad worked at a real-time simulation software company, Unity, designing software for low-tech industries.
Hadad said his time at St. Charles and UNC have prepared him to become a Rhodes Scholar and to enter the University of Oxford next fall. At Oxford, Hadad said he plans to continue his research in market design, focusing on how the placement of refugees can benefit the economies of those areas.
“I think St. Charles trained me to work hard and work with a purpose. I think UNC trained me to have an open ear for the problems around me,” Hadad said. “I was collaborating often and continuing to enhance my abilities – academic, professional and personal – by learning directly from people.”
Hadad said he also credits the Dublin community where he grew up with teaching him values such as interdependence.
“As I look back on it, I spent most of my time at the recreation center in Dublin, and that’s where I learned how important community is,” he said.
St. Charles Principal James Lower said Hadad is the second alumnus to be named a Rhodes Scholar in the past seven years.
Alex Coccia, a 2010 St. Charles graduate and a 2014 University of Notre Dame graduate and student body president, was the school’s first Rhodes Scholar, selected to the Rhodes Scholar Class of 2015 while serving as a Truman-Albright fellow in the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in Washington, D.C.
At the University of Oxford, Coccia earned a Ph.D. in politics and a master of philosophy degree in comparative social policy. He is now a senior policy analyst at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), where he advances policy work on family and community economic security.
“Our mission is to have every young man here develop the talents that God gave him," Lower said. “Both used their time at St. Charles to develop their passions. They’ve taken different paths, but both are paths where they can support people. Both men are concerned about their fellow man.”
Lower said Hadad and Coccia embody St. Charles’ motto, “You are your brother’s keeper.”
“Both Justin and Alex are representative of that, as are many of our graduates,” Lower said.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: St. Charles graduate, Dublin native Justin Hadad is Ohio's only recipient of 2022 Rhodes Scholar