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Rhodes rolling in

bikemonBwog’s caught wind that at least two Columbians are among the finalists for that prestigious prize named for diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes: Burma activist and jetsetting anthropology major Geoff Aung and CCSC President Michelle Diamond, for their home regions (New York and Florida respectively). We found no traces of the announcement, despite some assiduous googling, though we did find this fabulous photo illustration of the fast-paced life that awaits winners in at Oxford.

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  • That photo says:

    @That photo Looks like what would have happened if Magritte had programmed a video game set at Oxford.

    1. Michelle Fan says:

      @Michelle Fan Michelle is amazing and definitely deserves such an honor!

  • Michelle? says:

    @Michelle? Really? Dry year?

    1. but says:

      @but go Geoff though. He would be a worthy winner, and hopefully it will help him attract a larger audience to his Burma events.

  • no, says:

    @no, michelle does not. but i really can’t think of anyone better than geoff.

    1. ... says:

      @... haha, really??

      anonymous bwog commenter versus rhodes committee…… let’s think who is a more qualified judge… damn, this is a tough one!

      Also, bwog, i’m surprised ya’ll didn’t make some sort of joke about rhodes being a diamond magnate and michelle’s last name….

  • michelle says:

    @michelle is pretty qualified, i would think

  • yes says:

    @yes she is really amazing. I think many people unjustly try to paint her as a “dumb blonde” when she is in fact extremely motivated and intelligent

  • yah says:

    @yah there are actually like ten columbia finalists this year

  • coogan says:


    Caution, ladies, he grinds his teeth.

    Good luck, Geoff.

    1. GRINDER?! says:

      @GRINDER?! Coogan Brennan is way off the mark. I heard Geoff’s teeth at night approximate Machaut.

      1. coogan says:

        @coogan Geoff is disqualified from the Rhodes by impersonating an objective third-party poster.

        BTW BWOG,

        I don’t understand the tag “overachievement” for this post. Sure, I haven’t studied Michelle Diamond’s domestic policy as President of CCSC nor was I impressed by her response to the hunger strikes. But for Geoff to be a finalist in this contest, sponsored by The Oppressor Himself, for his work at a school for Burmese refugees speaks not for overachievement rather utmost humanist goals.

        Okay, okay. I’m just sucking up so I can be Chief of Staff when Aung is Secretary-General of the U.N.

  • which is says:

    @which is more coveted? marshall or rhodes?

    1. rhodes says:

      @rhodes is the more coveted award. Columbia hasn’t had a Rhodes Scholar since 2002.

      Having worked with Michelle on a student council initiative, I’m a little surprised…

      Good luck to both her and Geoff, bring one home for Alma Mater.

    2. I would say says:

      @I would say I would want the Marshall scholarship more. But the Rhodes is amazing, and good luck to everyone at Columbia who is a finalist…

  • yup says:

    @yup he does grind his teeth. i hope they took that into consideration.

  • Rhodes for Geoff says:

    @Rhodes for Geoff Geoff definitely deserves a rhodes, though it is a rather ironic accolade given how racist and colonially driven Rhodes was and what a social advocate Geoff is.

    As for Michelle, I’m sure she put a strong application together, and whether she deserves it or not, I don’t think she should be criticized by random bwog posts.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous A voice of reason? On MY internets? GTFO.

    2. some respect people says:

      @some respect people Agreed – why our community insists on using bwog posts to spew anonymous bile is completely beyond me.

      Every interaction I have ever had with Michelle confirms her intelligence. I have no doubt that she and Geoff both deserve the scholarship.

      More importantly though, I don’t waste my time and karma pointlessly doubting other people’s intelligence.

  • insider says:

    @insider actually, there are about 15 rhodes finalists this year, at columbia. they’re also from almost all the different regions, meaning that there’s a good chance that columbia will win at least one.

    and both geoff and michelle are fantastic people who are extremely qualified. quit hating, people, and give them some props.

    1. Lydia says:

      @Lydia If you know more than us–and it appears you do–feel free to share!

    2. not true says:

      @not true it is ten.

  • my two cents says:

    @my two cents i really don’t think it’s appropriate to publicize rhodes finalists. although it is truly a great honor, there are reasons why finalists aren’t named publicly.

  • Hang on a second says:

    @Hang on a second There are most definitely not ten, 15, or any more Rhodes finalists at Columbia. Universities are allowed to nominate up to four students. Typically, everyone who wants to apply first applies within Columbia, and then the school picks the best four. *Then* those four are put into the actual competition, along with I think about a thousand other kids. The Rhodes committee picks finalists to call for interviews and then selects 32 winners.

    In short, Columbia can have a maximum of four finalists, because it is allowed to enter a maximum of four students.

    1. insider says:

      @insider then how come i personally know seven of them, and have heard of four or five more? i would name names, but most of the rhodes nominees prefer to keep a low profile. and good for them for doing so.

    2. the dan says:

      @the dan you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      how come harvard has had more than four rhodes scholars in a single year? there’s clearly not a limit of four applicants per school.

    3. Alum says:

      @Alum That’s not true. Often one university will have more than four winners, which would not be possible if it could have only four finalists. Even if universities can nominate only four of their own students (I don’t know if this is true) there must be other ways someone can get nominated.

  • hmm says:

    @hmm All of a sudden, now that we have a competent dean of fellowships, we’re actually well organized and in the hunt to win stuff? Nice.

  • OldOxonian says:

    @OldOxonian I was a former Rhodes finalist for Columbia. Didn’t get the scholarship, but ended up going to Oxford on another source of funding anyway. Several things to say. First, it’s great that Columbia finally got it’s damn act together. I got absolutely no support from Kathleen McDermott’s office, which was a real shame. We can easily see that from the relatively low number of Rhodes/Marshalls compared to peer institutions.
    The other thing to say is that, despite the continuing mystique of the Rhodes, it is really not a very good source of funding anymore. The Rhodes Trust has lost a lot of money over the past decade or so, which is probably one reason they’ve brought in Colin Lucas (former VC of the university) to manage the funds. People should definitely still apply, but if your purpose is to really study in Europe, there are better sources of funding out there.
    Finally, just about the competition: there are multiple levels. You apply through your school, then do a state interview (by invitation), and then if you succeed here, you move onto the regional interview, which is where the scholars are finally selected. You all might be mixing up “finalists” with “state finalists.” Minor difference.

    1. Confused says:

      @Confused Thanks for the clarification. It sounds like perhaps Columbia had about 10 state finalists, and then Geoff and Michelle were the only two “finalists” who’ll be in the regional selection.

  • hey coogan says:

    @hey coogan get over yourself

  • actually says:

    @actually there’s no such thing as a ‘state finalist’ anymore. they got rid of that a few years ago. there’s only one final round.

    not sure whether marshall or rhodes is more coveted. they are equally difficult to get, and they almost never choose the same people.

    1. OldOxonian says:

      @OldOxonian Re “state finalist”

      Ah, I didn’t know that. Actually, it’s for the better. Streamlines the process and makes it much fairer, I think, rather than being disadvantaged by the accident of your state residence. Also makes it more comparable to how the scholars are selected in the other participating countries.

      Good luck Columbia finalists!

  • Fairly certain that says:

    @Fairly certain that none of the Rhodes Scholar judges are reading the BWOG. So I doubt it’s all that necessary to go out of your way to champion either Finalist.

  • alum says:


    CU has one — Mr R. Jisung Park

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