Index Throwback: K’s One and Only Rhodes Scholar

By Katie Schmitz, News Editor

According to the official website, “The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world.”

Ever since 1904, the Rhodes Trust has been paying for students from all over the world (including 32 students from the U.S.) to attend Oxford University and obtain degrees. Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), an English businessman and politician who made his fortune mining diamonds in South Africa, established the foundation.

The scholarships are considered to be extremely prestigious and only awarded to the most excellent of students. “Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead,” the website explains.

In 1981, Kalamazoo produced its first, and so far only, Rhodes scholar, Becky Grey.

In a 1981 issue, the Index described the scholar: “A math major and an academically fine student, Becky has received high scholastic honors every year. She has demonstrated her athletic ability, winning three varsity [sic] letters on both the field hockey and basketball teams; and being elected co-captain of each her senior year.”

When the Index asked Gray how she felt about being awarded the scholarship, she replied, “I feel humble. All o f my inadequacies have come to mind… I realize just how much support the College community has given me.”

In order to accept the scholarship, Gray had to decline other scholarships, such as the Fulbright Program, which according to their website is a “flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government.” The Fulbright Program is also an extremely great honor to be awarded.

Becky Gray returned to campus last year in order to speak at the “Why We Play” event, which is a community reflection that focuses on K athletics and why it is important to participate even though athletes have no official benefits for doing so.