Five black students have been selected as Rhodes Scholars in one of the highest academic achievements for U.S. college students, according to the Rhodes Trust, which administers the program, and the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
The 2015 class of Rhodes Scholars was chosen from a pool of 877 students who were endorsed by 305 colleges and universities. There were 207 finalists from 86 colleges and universities who were selected in 16 different geographic districts, the Journal says. Two students from each district were chosen as Rhodes Scholars. Students can enter the competition in the district in which they reside or the district where they attended college. The 32 outstanding students will begin their studies at Oxford University in October 2015, according to the Rhodes Trust.
Alain LeRoy Locke, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1907, was the first black Rhodes Scholar, according to Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root’s editor-in-chief and the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and founding director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. Locke was born in Philadelphia in 1885, the only son of a lawyer and teacher, both of whom had been born free, Gates writes. Since then, others have joined the exclusive ranks.