A Rhodes Scholar is a holder of a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The scholarships are awarded by the Rhodes Trust, endowed by the will of the imperialist statesman Cecil Rhodes and founded in 1902, and originally open to scholars from the British Empire, the United States and Germany. Scholars are eligible to study any postgraduate degree at Oxford (excluding MBA). Since the foundation of the trust, more than 7,000 Rhodes Scholars have attended Oxford.
"Cecil Rhodes directed that the selection of scholars should be based on academic ability; sporting activity; qualities of personal rectitude, strength and compassion; and sense of the public good."
Over time, the award has been increasingly given to liberal recipients lacking achievement in either sport or academics. For example, scholarship recipient Bill Clinton had no known sporting achievement and refused to release his suspect academic record either. He took the scholarship money for attending Oxford but could not earn a degree there.
In 2002, a Rhodes scholarship was awarded to Chesa Boudin, best known for being the child of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who were members of the international terrorost group, the Weather Underground. Boudin and Gilbert are currently serving long sentences in prison for their part in the murder of two police officers and a guard "as the result of a robbery of a Brinks armored car in New York at the late, unradical date of 1981." Chesa expressed support for the views of his parents, "My parents were all dedicated to fighting U.S. imperialism around the world. I'm dedicated to the same thing."
Well-known liberal Rhodes Scholars
- Kim Beazley, Australian politician, current Australian Ambassador to the United States of America.
- Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey
- Wesley Clark, U.S. general, unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
- Bill Clinton, liberal Democratic President of the United States, impeached by Congress in 1998.
- Russ Feingold, U.S. Senator for Wisconsin
- J.W. Fulbright, liberal Democratic U.S. Senator from Arkansas who founded the Fulbright Scholarships at taxpayer expense
- Bob Hawke, liberal Australian Labor Party Prime Minister
- Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist and author
- Kris Kristofferson, songwriter and actor
- Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC and Air America Radio
- Dom Mintoff, Maltese Prime Minister
- Dean Rusk, U.S. Secretary of State under liberal presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson
- George Stephanopoulos
- Naomi Wolf, feminist author
Well-known conservative Rhodes Scholars
- Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
- Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator for Indiana
- David Vitter, U.S. Senator for Louisiana
- Edwin Hubble, astronomer
- Tony Abbott, politition, Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Federal Parliament.
- The Rhodes Trust
- Slate.com, Weatherson: Chesa Boudin, radical chic Rhodes scholar, by Emily Yoffe, Posted Monday, Dec. 9, 2002