Two Rhodes Are a First for BC

Two Rhodes Are a First for BC

Senior and 2003 grad among recipients of prestigious scholarship

By Jack Dunn
Director of Public Affairs

Brett T. Huneycutt '03 of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Paul A. Taylor '04 of Elm Grove, Wis., have become Boston College's first-ever Rhodes Scholars.

The two from BC are among 32 Americans selected as Rhodes Scholars for 2004. They will enter the University of Oxford next October, on the 100th anniversary of the first class of American Rhodes Scholars.

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, Rourke Professor of Physics Kevin Bedell, second from right, and Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science), director of the University Fellowship Committee, far left, congratulate Paul Taylor on being selected as a Rhodes Scholar.
The pair of Rhodes Scholarships crowns a year in which BC students won a school-record 14 Fulbright Grants, as well as a Marshall Scholarship [see related story], a Truman Scholarship, a Gates/Cambridge Scholarship, and a Goldwater Scholarship.

"Brett and Paul are a great embodiment of what Boston College is all about," said Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science), director of the University Fellowship Committee at Boston College. "They are superb scholars whose selection reflects our commitment not only to academics, but to academics with a heart."

Taylor is a senior Presidential Scholar with a double major in physics and classics. A Goldwater Scholar, he has won awards for excellence in science as well as in Latin. Captain of the fencing team, he has been New England foil champion and has competed nationally. He also holds a patent, was Volunteer of the Year at the Haley House soup kitchen in Boston, and is a tutor in physics and calculus. He will pursue studies in theoretical physics or astrophysics at Oxford.

"There is still an air of unreality to it," said Taylor. "I've gotten calls and e-mails from friends and family members and people I knew from high school. It is very exciting."

Taylor's fellow BC Rhodes Scholar is Brett Huneycutt, now a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador.
Huneycutt was a Presidential Scholar at BC who ranked first in his class with a GPA of 4.0 when he graduated in May with a degree in economics. His senior thesis on the economic impact that immigrant workers in the United States have on the Latin American economy won an award from the Academy of Social and Political Science. He is now a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador, where he is doing econometric research on the role of migrant remittances from the United States on the Salvadoran economy. At Oxford, he will do the M.Phil. in economics.

"I was completely shocked, overwhelmed, speechless," said Huneycutt. "The other candidates invited to district interviews were truly outstanding and very deserving of the scholarship. I felt honored to be included among them, let alone to be selected from them.

"I am most grateful to my professors who have shared with me so much of their time and energy. They have challenged me intellectually and taught me to think more critically. Most importantly, they have taught me that academics should not take place in a vaccum, that we must always use our academic talents to ask what is just."

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joseph Quinn said: "We have nominated many excellent students over the years who were Rhodes finalists, but who were not named Rhodes Scholars. We are very proud of Paul and Brett, and want to thank Don Hafner and his colleagues on the University Fellowship Committee who have been outstanding mentors for these students."

The students were selected from 963 applicants from a total of 366 colleges and universities. The scholarships provide two to three years of study at Oxford University in England.

The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 through the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity and leadership potential, among other attributes.


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