Twenty-one year-old university student, Michael Waul, is the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.
Mr. Waul, a fourth year student at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the United States, was selected from a field of eight candidates, comprising four males and four females.
They were interviewed by members of the Jamaica Rhodes Selection Committee, at King’s House on November 14. Mr. Waul will pursue a two- year Masters degree in Medicinal Chemistry, at the prestigious Oxford University in England, beginning September 2009.
Making the announcement at King’s House, Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most. Hon Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, noted that in arriving at a consensus on Mr. Waul’s selection, the Committee acknowledged that this year’s candidates were outstanding, based on the all-round strength of their backgrounds.
“Indeed, as we looked at all of their achievements over the years, in their academic areas, social commitments, and engagements in the communities, we feel very inspired by this group of candidates. It is our view that this is the other side of the country’s athletic achievement. All of these candidates, if we were to place them, would rank in the world as outstanding young achievers. And so, we wish them well in their future endeavours,” Sir Kenneth said.
He expressed the hope that Mr. Waul, “will continue in the long tradition of excellence, which has been established by Jamaican Rhodes Scholars.”
Speaking with journalists, following the announcement, Mr. Waul described the interview as “gruelling and taxing.”
“I am really humbled, I am really honoured that they selected me. I hope that I can just continue the long tradition that previous Rhodes Scholars have established before me,” he said.
Mr. Waul is a former Marcus Garvey, and Jamaica Scholarship awardee. The Campion College past student has consistently made the Macalester College Dean’s List, with a Grade Point Average of 3.75/4.00.
The student, whose involvement in volunteer work spans both Jamaica and the United States, intimated that he aspires to pursue a career in medical research.
His selection came as no surprise to his father, Carlos, who described him as tenaciously determined “This scholarship selection is just a part of the plan’s that Mikey had for his road to academic success. He has always worked hard, and I know that whatever he sets his mind on, he will certainly achieve,” his father said.
The scholar’s mother, Joan, was equally elated, describing her son as “a very hard worker.”
Secretary of the Jamaica Rhodes Selection Committee, Peter Goldson, said the panel was satisfied that Mr. Waul met all of the criteria for consideration and selection. These, he outlined, include: academic excellence; a care and concern for the weak and the underprivileged; the ability to lead; and a desire to tackle global challenges, and making a difference in the life of others in the process.
“It was a difficult selection, because there were eight candidates, all very outstanding, and it was difficult to decide. But Mr. Waul is an exceptional student, and we expect that he will really make the (previous) awardees of the Rhodes Scholarship proud,” said Mr. Goldson, a partner in the law firm, Myers, Fletcher and Gordon, and a former Rhodes Scholar.