via Rhodes scholarship gets $120m donation by NewZimbabwe 19/09/2013
FOR more than 100 years, the Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, the international study programme created by 19th century British colonial adventurer Cecil Rhodes, has been one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world.
The alumni list is impressive, including Tony Abbott, the newly elected Australian prime minister, Bill Clinton, the former American president and for Zimbabwe deputy prime minister, Arthur Mutambara, as well as senior judges, university and business leaders and three Nobel prize-winners.
Since 1902 it has funded fees and living expenses for students from the British empire (later the Commonwealth), America and Germany.
Now, thanks to a $120-million donation from a Canadian businessman, the Rhodes scholarship could soon expand to students from China, Russia, Brazil and elsewhere.
The donation, to be announced on Thursday at Oxford, is from John McCall MacBain, a Rhodes scholar from Niagara Falls, Ontario, and former owner of Trader Classified Media, which included Auto Trader among its many titles.
The gift was the largest in the history of the Rhodes Trust, a charity that manages the scholarship, and part of it will go toward expanding the award.
“We are looking at potentially, in the future, in the next five to 10 years, expansion into China, expansion into Brazil and expansion into some of the other countries,” said McCall MacBain, who is also one of the charity’s trustees. “China, Brazil and Russia would be three key countries we’d like to expand it into.”
“With this endowment, it is hoped that the Rhodes Trust will be able to do just that in the decade to come. With the world facing ever-increasing challenges, the need to help develop leadership skills is more important than ever,”
The Rhodes Scholarship was established in 1902 by Rhodes, who made his fortune in the diamond business in South Africa. Rhodes founded diamond giant De Beers, served briefly in South African politics, and administered nearby Rhodesia (named after him) which is now called Zimbabwe.
A strong advocate of the British Empire, he created the Oxford scholarship to help students from Britain and its colonies who demonstrated accomplishments in academics, athletics and leadership.
The United States and Germany were included because Rhodes believed they were the keys to lasting world peace.
Rhodes left about £3.3 million, worth about £290 million today or $480-million. For more than a century, money from the initial endowment and its investments were enough to finance the scholarship, which now consists of 83 students annually from 14 countries. It funds all expenses for two years of study at Oxford, plus a stipend.