10 Famous Rhodes Scholars

by Duncan Riley

rhodes trust

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate scholarship established in 1902 and awarded to selected foreign (non-British) student s to study at Oxford University.

Regarded as as one of the world’s most prestigious international graduate scholarships, the award is named after English businessman, mining magnate and politician Cecil Rhodes and is funded by his estate.

The scholarship is not only extremely prestigious, it also has amongst its alumni a range of student s who went on to achieve fame in leadership, science and sport.

Here’s 10 famous Rhodes Scholars.

edwin hubbleEdwin Hubble

Hubble (Rhodes Scholar 1910) was the astronomer who played the crucial role in establishing the field of extragalactic astronomy and it today regarded as one of the most important astrologists of the 20th Century.

Before Hubble the prevailing view was that the Galaxy consisted only of the Milky Way Galaxy; it was Hubble who first argued that not only was the Milky Way one of billions of Galaxies in the Universe, but the Universe itself was expanding.

His name was given to the Hubble Telescope.

howard floreyHoward Florey

Florey (Rhodes Scholar 1921) was an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist who was credited with jointly with the Noble Prize in Medicine in 1945 Sir Ernst Boris Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming for first making penicillin.

Florey lead the team that gave the modern world penicillin based antibiotics 1941, and went on to lead the team to deliver the ability to mass produce modern antibiotics.

As well as being made a Life Peer in 1965 (an honor higher than a Knighthood) in recognition of his work, he has a building named after him at Oxford, and also featured on the Australian $50 note between 1973 and 1995.

bill clintonBill Clinton

Clinton (Rhodes Scholar 1968) was the 42nd President of the United States of America from 1993 to 2001, overseaing a period in American history that is generally regarded as a prosperous time, with Clinton bring the deficit under control and taming unemployment.

Prior to becoming President, Clinton served as Governor of Arkansas from 1979-1981 and 1983-1992.

Since his term in office he has advocated for for the Environment and headed the Clinton Global Initiative that attempts to address world problems such as public health, poverty and religious and ethnic conflict.

George StephanopoulosGeorge Stephanopoulos

Stephanopoulos (Rhodes Scholar 1984) is a television journalist and former political adviser.

Stephanopoulos first rose to prominence as the Communication Director for the 1992 Presidential Campaign of Bill Clinton, and then went on to become the White House Communications Director, then Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy before departing the White House in 1996.

Today he is chief political correspondent for ABC News, co-anchor of Good Morning America, and host of the show This Week.

Kris KristoffersonKris Kristofferson

Kristofferson (Rhodes Scholar 1958) is a country music singer, musician, and film actor.

A member of the supergroup “The Highwaymen” with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, Kristofferson has had a career spanning 50 years, winning multiple music awards, as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

He has been inducted in to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and has received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Naomi WolfNaomi Wolf

Wolf (Rhodes Scholar 1985) is an author and former political consultant.

Credited as being a leading spokesperson of the “third wave of the feminist movement” Wolf’s works include The Beauty Myth, Promiscuities, Misconceptions, The End of America, Give Me Liberty, and Vagina, a New Biography.

Wolf also worked on both the Clinton and Gore campaigns as a political consultant to target female voters.

rachel maddowRachel Maddow

Maddow (Rhodes Scholar 1995) in a television host, political commentator and author.

Maddow started her career on radio in Holyoke, Massachusetts, before eventually ending up on Air America. After becoming a panelist on MSNBC’s Tucker, MSNBC’s Race to the White House, and Countdown with Keith Olbermann, her big break came in 2008 when she finally scored her own evening program The Rachel Maddow Show.

She is the first openly gay anchor of a major prime time news program in the United States.

bill bradleyBill Bradley

Bradley (Rhodes Scholar 1965) is a Hall of Fame Basketball player, three-term Democratic Senator from New Jersey, and nominee for the Democractic Party’s nomination for President at the 2000 Election.

Bradley started his rise to prominence as an all-state basketball player in high school, later becoming a member of the Gold Medal winning 1964 Olympic basketball team. After a stint in Europe, Breadly joined the New York Knick in 1967, going on to play for the team for 10 years until retiring in 1977.

Bradley served as a Senator representing New Jersey from 1979-1997, and lost to Al Gore to run for the Democratic Party in 2000.

bob hawkeBob Hawke

Hawke (Rhodes Scholar 1953) was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia between 1983 and 1991, and former Guinness Book of World Records holder for the fast consumption of beer.

Hawke rose to prominence in Australia through the Union movement, going on to lead the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 1969. He was elected to the Australian Parliament in 1980, and became leader of the Australian Labor Party in February 1983, a position that would take him to the role of Prime Minister 4 weeks later.

He is perhaps best known outside of Australia (and is still well known in Australia) due to his Guinness Book of World Records title by drinking 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds at University College, Oxford in 1955.

susan riceSusan Rice

Rice (Rhodes Scholar 1986) is a diplomat, former Brookings Institution fellow and the current United State Ambassador to the United Nations.

Rice first came to prominence in the Clinton Administrations, where she served in various capacities from 1993-2001, including the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Following a stint in business, Rice continued to pursue her interest in Foreign Affairs, joining the Brookings Institution as Senior Fellow in the foreign policy program. She served on Obama’s campaign in 2008 before being appointed to the United States’ highest diplomatic role: U.S. Ambassador to the United States.


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