LONG BEACH (CBS) — A May graduate of California State University Long Beach was named Sunday as its first Rhodes Scholar.
Stephanie J. Bryson was among the 32 Americans chosen by The Rhodes Trust from among 830 finalists from 299 colleges and universities.
Bryson was the valedictorian at Cal State Long Beach’s May graduation ceremony, majoring in international studies with a concentration in Western Europe. She minored in political science.
Bryson also studied for a year at Humboldt University in Berlin. While in Germany, she participated in a U.S.-German forum for young leaders and served as an American cultural ambassador to the U.S. Embassy.
She also was an intern with the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels and a volunteer with the Wounded Warriors Project, teaching veterans water sports to help them readjust to civilian life.
Cal State Long Beach and Bard College in upstate New York were this year’s U.S. colleges and universities to have their first Rhodes Scholars.
Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at England’s University of Oxford. Bryson will use her scholarship to study for a master’s degree of philosophy in politics.
Rhodes Scholarships are considered the most famous academic award available to American college graduates. They are the oldest and best known award for international study.
The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist, African colonial pioneer and founder of the De Beers diamond company.
Scholarship recipients are chosen based on criteria established in Rhodes’ will, said Elliot F. Gerson, the American secretary of The Rhodes Trust, which chooses the Rhodes Scholars.
“These criteria are high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor,” Gerson said.
“These basic characteristics are directed at fulfilling Mr. Rhodes’ hopes that the Rhodes Scholars would make an effective and positive contribution throughout the world. In Rhodes’ words, his scholars should esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim.”
In addition to the United States, Rhodes Scholars are chosen from former British colonies and Germany. Past Rhodes Scholars include former President Bill Clinton.