First at BC in 31 years, say A&S administrators

'98 Graduate Wins Marshall Scholarship

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

For the first time in 31 years, the Marshall Scholarships program has selected a Boston College student to receive one of its prestigious awards.

Broderick Bagert '98, currently studying at Valladolied University in Spain through a one-year Rotary Scholarship, received a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and English from the University in June. With the Marshall Scholarship, which provides tuition, fees, travel allowance and a stipend, Bagert plans to study at Oxford University beginning next fall.

The last time a BC student won a Marshall Scholarship was 1968, according to College of Arts and Sciences administrators.

"Besides the great honor this scholarship represents, it puts me in a terrific position for my post-graduate work," said Bagert, who seeks to study comparative literature in German and Spanish. "Having been at Oxford during my junior year, I know the modern foreign language program there allows a flexibility that is hard to find elsewhere. It's a wonderful opportunity to build on what I've done so far."

Established by the British government in 1953, Marshall Scholarships are among the most competitive awards in academia and are on a par with Rhodes Scholarships, said Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science), director of the University Fellowships Committee. Forty Marshall Scholarships are given each year in the US, he noted, as compared to the 32 Rhodes Scholarships presented annually.

"This is a signal achievement for Broderick and for Boston College," said Hafner. "The Marshall program is actually regarded as placing somewhat heavier emphasis on intellectual accomplishment than Rhodes, so those who receive the scholarships are truly outstanding young adults. There is no question that Broderick deserves the honor."

"What I liked about the process," said Bagert, "is that it makes you think of yourself in a new light. They essentially ask, 'What will your contribution be?,' and you have to respond in a way that's thoughtful, honest and imaginative.

"That's where I think my education at BC really helped," he added. "Studying in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, I saw the need to be adaptable and open to new possibilities and experiences."

The ability of Boston College students to earn such prestigious fellowships, said Hafner, can depend on the efforts of faculty members like Assoc. Prof. Rein Uritam (Physics), campus coordinator for the Marshall Scholarships, who identify potential candidates and assist them through the application process.

"We certainly have many wonderful students who are capable of winning Marshalls, Fulbrights and other scholarships, and we're seeing that happen more and more," said Hafner, noting that more than 20 BC students were selected for major awards last year.

"While the students have a strong foundation to begin with, the University has definitely become more assertive in encouraging them to think about trying for these honors," he said. "The success of a Broderick Bagert should be instructive for faculty, because it is they who will find the next Broderick Bagert."

Return to Jan. 21 menu

Return to Chronicle home page