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Ohio Wesleyan Student Selected as Rhodes Scholar Semifinalist
David Gatz to Compete Nov. 21 for Opportunity to Study at University of Oxford

November 9, 2009

David Gatz
Photo by Paul Molitor
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DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University student David Gatz, a senior from Delaware, Ohio, has been selected as a semifinalist to become one of 32 college students nationwide to be named a 2009 Rhodes Scholar. If chosen, Gatz would be only the fifth Ohio Wesleyan student to be named a Rhodes Scholar since the prestigious program was founded in 1902.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the world’s oldest international fellowships, bringing together students from 19 countries to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Students are selected based on four criteria:

  • Literary and scholastic attainments.
  • Energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports.
  • Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness, and fellowship.
  • Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

“David Gatz does more than meet the Rhodes Scholar criteria, he exemplifies them,” said Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., who provided a university letter of endorsement as part of Gatz’s application packet. “David is an outstanding scholar, who spent the summer completing an internship at the Scripps Research Institute in California. He is an outstanding athlete, twice named an All-America swimmer. In addition, David is dedicated to service and peace. He is vitally interested in children’s welfare and hopes to prepare for a career in pediatric medicine, a field that provides a way for him to combine his passion for science with his desire to alleviate children’s suffering.”

Gatz will travel to Indianapolis later this month, where he will compete against 12 other Rhodes Scholar semifinalists from a district that includes Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Following Nov. 21 interviews with selection committee members, two of the semifinalists will be selected as Rhodes Scholars.

If chosen, Gatz will follow in the footsteps of such noted Americans as former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court David H. Souter, and former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste. Gatz also would join four Ohio Wesleyan students in achieving the prestigious honor: Edwin Russell Lloyd, Class of 1905; Edmund Earl Lincoln, Class of 1909; Robert Aura Smith, Class of 1920; and Bill McCulloh, Class of 1953.

At Ohio Wesleyan, Gatz is a double major in biochemistry and pre-professional medicine. He said he is honored by his selection as a semifinalist and excited by the possibility of studying at Oxford. Gatz credits his time at Ohio Wesleyan, including the friends he has made here, with helping to expand his world and prepare him for this international opportunity.

“I’m amazed how much my awareness of the world has grown over these last three years,” Gatz said, noting especially his collaboration with fellow student Usman Javaid of Lahore, Pakistan, to attempt a relay swim of the English Channel to demonstrate the power of international cooperation and friendship.

The two Ohio Wesleyan swim team members spent months preparing for the swim and raising funds to support the relief efforts of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. When Javaid was denied a visa to enter the United Kingdom, Gatz attempted an unsuccessful solo swim and, mere days later, completed a relay swim with an international team he met in England.

“I’ve gone from municipal park pools to the English Channel, from concern about playground bullies to the Tehrik e Taliban,” Gatz wrote in his Rhodes Scholar application essay. “At Oxford, and amongst Rhodes colleagues, I could continue to grow through multicultural collaboration. Perhaps it would be with an Indian economist, a Kenyan anthropologist, or an Australian philosopher. Assumptions fall, horizons expand, new views inspire.”

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 45 states and 57 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.