December 11, 2008
Vol. 28 No. 6

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    Bungum wins prestigious Marshall scholarship

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Photo by Lloyd DeGrane

    Donnie Bungum

    Donald Bungum, a fourth-year in the College from Park Ridge, Ill., is one of 40 students nationwide to have been awarded the prestigious Marshall scholarship this year, bringing Chicago’s total number of Marshall scholars to 19.

    Bungum is a double major in chemistry and biochemistry, with the ultimate ambition of pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry, but he will use his scholarship to the University of Oxford to pursue his other research interest: the relationship between science and religion. At Oxford, he will study for a master’s degree in Science and Religion and a master’s in Philosophical Theology.

    Bungum has a long-standing interest in science and faith, splitting time between research in cutting-edge chemistry and contemplating the themes and questions of religion. During three years of chemistry research at Chicago, Bungum contributed to the development of a new method of vibrational spectroscopy and synthesized a new class of organometallic compounds.

    Meanwhile, he has been active in Calvert House, the University’s Catholic ministry, serving as a lector, Eucharistic minister and a musician during Masses. He also has led discussions on topics related to Catholic theology, culture, history and practice.

    At Oxford, Bungum will study the philosophical underpinnings of debates in science and religion. “I’m extremely honored to have been selected,” said Bungum, “and I am excited to have the opportunity to pursue research in an entirely new direction.”

    Following his study in Britain, Bungum plans to pursue graduate studies in chemistry. He hopes to become a professor at a research institution where he can investigate chemical solutions to the energy crisis and publish works that relate science and theology.

    A graduate of Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Bungum is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Sigma Xi research society. A winner of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Bungum also plays tenor saxophone for the University’s Jazz X-tet, the funk/R&B band “Intense City” and the Chicago Latin jazz artist “Mike Roman and the Tellstars.”

    Established in 1953 by the British Parliament, the Marshall scholarships were created to celebrate the Marshall Plan, the United States’ effort to rebuild Europe after World War II. Named after Secretary of State George Marshall, the scholarships provide two or three years of study in the United Kingdom. Unlike the Rhodes scholarships, Marshall scholarships allow recipients to attend any university in the U.K.

    “The Marshall is a truly distinguished award, founded in the wake of the Second World War for the sake of promoting academic internationalism,” said John Boyer, Dean of the College. “It is particularly appropriate in our time, when the tradition of international cultural and intellectual exchange and understanding embodied by the Marshall Scholarship is even more vital to our future. The College is indeed honored to have Donnie as its representative among this year’s Marshall scholars.”

    The more than 1,500 Marshall scholar alumni worldwide include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, author and journalist Thomas Friedman, and recent appointee to the Obama administration Peter Orszag.