Sewanee senior Carrie Ryan is one of 32 American students chosen as Rhodes Scholars for 2012, making her the 26th Rhodes Scholar from the University of the South.
The awards provide all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford University in England. The winners were selected from 830 applicants endorsed by 299 different colleges and universities. The scholars will enter Oxford next fall.
Ryan is a cultural anthropology major at the University of the South. The president of the student body and a student trustee, she also co-founded the campus diversity coalition and won the 2011 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award for all public and private universities in Tennessee. She was also honored last spring by Campus Compact as a Newman Civic Fellow. While at Sewanee, Ryan has worked with students at Grundy County High School, and has recruited other Sewanee students to join her. Ryan also founded an organization fostering relationships between public school students and residents of retirement communities. Her interest in serving the elderly and extensive academic work in gerontology led her to two research opportunities—one at the Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California and the other in Visakhapatnam, India. She will pursue an M.Phil. in evidence-based social intervention at Oxford.
“It is wonderful that a Sewanee student has again prevailed in Rhodes competition,” said Sewanee Vice-Chancellor John McCardell. “We all congratulate Carrie on this remarkable achievement, which is all the more impressive when one looks at the list of all 32 recipients and sees how few liberal arts colleges are on the list.” The University of the South had 25 Rhodes Scholars prior to Ryan's award—a number that puts Sewanee in the top rank nationally among American liberal arts colleges.
The value of a Rhodes Scholarship averages about $50,000 per year, though the value varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master’s, doctoral) chosen.
Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, called the Rhodes Scholarships, "the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates." Applicants are chosen on the criteria of high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.