Three African Americans Awarded Rhodes Scholarships

This year 207 colleges and universities across the United States nominated 769 students for a Rhodes Scholarship. The scholarships, considered the most prestigious award given to college students, provide for up to three years of graduate study at Oxford University. Previous winners have included Bill Clinton, former senator Bill Bradley, former secretary of state Dean Rusk, and former Harvard president Neil Rudenstine. African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include philosopher Alain LeRoy Locke, author John Edgar Wideman, and Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy.

This year there were three African Americans among the 32 Rhodes Scholars.

• For the first time in a quarter-century, a prominent player in a major college football program won a Rhodes Scholarship. Myron L. Rolle, of Princeton, New Jersey, is a safety for the high-powered Florida State University football team. He is rated a top prospect for the National Football League.

Rolle’s academic achievements are remarkable considering the demands of playing major college football. He completed his pre-med bachelor’s degree in two-and-a-half years at Florida State, achieving a 3.75 grade point average. He is currently in a master’s degree program in public administration. He hopes to go to medical school and become a neurosurgeon. At Oxford he will enroll in a master’s degree program in medical anthropology.

Matthew L. Gethers III is a biological engineering major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT he has participated in research aimed at enabling engineers to genetically encode memory systems to assist in the study and treatment of diseases.

Gethers has volunteered for the MIT Emergency Medical Service and has tutored children each week in the Cambridge public schools. A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, Gethers is a member of the two-time New England champion varsity fencing team.

At Oxford, Gethers will pursue a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics. He eventually would like to study for a Ph.D. in biological engineering.

Rakim H.D. Brooks of the Bronx, New York, is a senior at Brown University majoring in Africana studies and philosophy. He is currently writing his undergraduate thesis on African-American leadership in the post-civil rights era.

Brooks is a member of Brown’s mock trial team and has completed internships with the Center for Law and Social Policy and the Brookings Institution.

At Oxford, Brooks will study for a master’s degree in comparative social policy.