Jan. 9, 2003
Vol. 22 No. 7

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    Alumnus is University’s 37th Rhodes scholarship recipient

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Sean Campbell (A.B., ’02)
    Last month the College claimed its 37th winner of a prestigious Rhodes scholarship for study at the University of Oxford. Sean Campbell, a 2001 Truman Scholar who graduated from the University in June 2002, received the honor Saturday, Dec. 7.

    Campbell, 22, plans to study economic and social history at Oxford and is particularly interested in studying social policy and the history of efforts to combat poverty and homelessness. He eventually hopes to pursue a career in public service that will enable him to influence policy affecting the poor.

    “I want to learn about the history of attempts to fight poverty,” said Campbell in his Rhodes application, “so that I can figure out how to help poor people in a way that avoids the mistakes of the past and treats the problem of poverty in the nuanced fashion it deserves.”

    A native of New York City, Campbell graduated Phi Beta Kappa in June with a B.A. in History. He was a 2001 Student Marshal, the highest academic honor the University gives to undergraduates, and received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in May 2001. He also was awarded the University’s Barnard prize last spring for writing the best undergraduate thesis in American history.

    “He really deserves this,” said Claudio Lomnitz, Professor in History, Anthropology and the College. Lomnitz, a Latin American specialist who was Campbell’s undergraduate thesis advisor, described his student as an “unusually original thinker.” His award-winning thesis, which focused on U.S. attempts to help the poor in Latin America, was innovative, Lomnitz said, because it synthesized the perspectives of three disciplines–history, sociology and political science.

    “Sean is thoughtful, bright, self-motivated, and rigorous analytically. He’s certainly one of the top students that I’ve had,” Lomnitz added.

    While a Chicago student, Campbell was Vice President of the school’s Model United Nations, President of the Chicago Debate Society, and a member of the University’s Chorus and its crew team. He also was deeply involved in public service and volunteer activities. While he served as an intern in the Office of Mayor Richard Daley and at Chicago’s Streetwise newspaper, he also volunteered as a teacher’s assistant at the Carnegie School, a public elementary school.

    Campbell is currently working for the New York City Economic Development Corporation as part of the city’s Urban Fellow program, which places recent college graduates in high-level positions in city government.

    The Rhodes scholarship, one of the most prestigious academic scholarships, was established in the will of British colonial pioneer and statesman Cecil J. Rhodes and was initiated upon his death in 1902. Rhodes hoped that his plan of bringing able students from throughout the world to study at Oxford would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace and the personal and intellectual development of these scholars.

    The scholarship provides tuition and a living stipend to 32 Americans for two years of study in any field at the University of Oxford.

    For more information on the Rhodes scholarship process in the United States, please visit http://www.rhodesscholar.org/.