Santa Clara University grad named Rhodes Scholar

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A San Francisco native and Santa Clara University graduate has been named a Rhodes Scholar, joining a long list of academics and famous people who have earned the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship in the world.

Sean Reilly, a 2016 graduate in environmental science and biology, is one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars for 2018.

The scholarship covers all expenses for two or three years of study at England’s University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholars are chosen for their “scholarly achievements, character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their leadership potential,’’ according to background information about the prize.

“This award is a great honor and a fantastic opportunity,” said Reilly, who is currently a Fulbright Scholar working in Australia. “I am excited to continue the work I began at Santa Clara at Oxford and to become a leader in worldwide environmental change grounded in sound scientific fact.”

Talk show host Rachel Maddow, former President Bill Clinton, and singer Kris Kristofferson have all received the prize, which was started more than 100 years ago. 

This year more than 2,500 students set out to become Rhodes Scholars, but only 228 applicants from 100 colleges and universities reached the final stage of the competition. 

Students from Harvard University, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are also among this year’s winners, which were announced last Saturday.

The 32 scholars from the United States will join an international group of students chosen from 64 different countries around the world.

At Oxford, Reilly plans to complete a master’s degree in mathematical modeling and scientific computing and in environmental change and governance.

“The Rhodes Scholarship is a prestigious honor with worldwide recognition, and we are very proud of our accomplished alumnus Sean,” said Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh,

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