March 15, 2004

New Bobby Jones Scholars
following in proud tradition

By Michael Terrazas

Nearly 35 years ago, Atlanta attorney F.M. “Buster” Bird had an idea. An admirer and former law partner of Bobby Jones— founder of Augusta National, one of the greatest sports figures of the 20th century and an alumnus of Emory’s law school—Bird got together some friends who held Jones in a similar regard to devise a way to honor the golfing legend in a manner that paid tribute to his character, intelligence and goodness.

Bird and his friends raised some money for a scholarship and then helped establish similar Jones-dedicated groups in New York and in St. Andrews, Scotland. Finally, in 1976, Emory sent the first recipient of the new Bobby Jones Scholarship to St. Andrews for a year of study and travel, and one of the University’s most prestigious scholarship programs was born.

Twenty-eight years later, Emory now sends four students annually to St. Andrews University, which in turn sends four its students to Atlanta. Not only are all eight students covered completely for room, board, tuition and other expenses, but each receives travel money so that every Bobby Jones Scholar has the opportunity to experience as much of life abroad as possible, whether it be a St. Andrews student soaking up America or an Emory student making the most of a Eurail pass.

“It’s just a great year after college; we hope the students will take their academics seriously, but we’re not concerned that they get a degree [during the year] and we’re not concerned that they pursue their own field—we encourage this to be a year of expanding horizons,” said Bill Fox, senior vice president for Institutional Advancement and administrator of the Jones Scholarship Program at Emory.

Fox heads the Atlanta-Emory Trust of the Bobby Jones Foundation, and there are similar groups in New York and St. Andrews. All three trusts continue to raise money for the endowment that sustains the Jones Scholarships. John Ingersoll, senior associate vice president for major gifts, is secretary of the Atlanta-Emory Trust, and Marjorie Nunn, IA associate director, serves as an assistant, helping the St. Andrews students adjust once they arrive stateside. Emory’s president also is automatically
a member of the trust.

The selection process for Bobby Jones Scholars is rigorous but perhaps not so much as it’s perceived; Fox said he believes a number of qualified students eliminate themselves from consideration because they fear they won’t be picked, and he wishes that wouldn’t happen. Still, those who do become Bobby Jones Scholars are certainly
some of the best Emory has to offer.

“They’re overwhelming; I feel humbled to meet them and completely unqualified to judge them,” Fox said. Scholarship applicants are winnowed down to 12–14 finalists, who interview twice with the selection committee, once with one half and once with the other. From those interviews, the committee votes until it determines four winners and two alternates.

Next year’s sojourners to Scotland, announced in February, are Euler Bropleh, Emily Hunter, Josh McCaleb and Pete Sherlock, all seniors in Emory College. Come Sept. 1, the four will cross the Atlantic and begin what’s sure to be one of the more fascinating years of their lives.

“I never expected to win, but the Bobby Jones Scholarship is such a great opportunity thatI decided I should give it a shot,” said Hunter, an interdisciplinary studies major from Wayzata, Minn. “I plan to go on to get a higher degree that integrates my interests in language and culture; I think this year could take me in many different directions, and I’m not limiting my options yet.”

“I’ve never been abroad, so the opportunity to become accustomed to a totally new country excited me,” said Sherlock, an economics and political science major who hails from North Augusta, S.C., just across the river from the hallowed greens of Augusta National. “It will give me the opportunity to figure out exactly what I want to do in life.”

Bropleh, president of the Student Government Association and an international studies major from Sandy Hook, Conn., plans to travel extensively as he looks toward a career in international law and policy. “The year in Scotland will expose me to a wide variety of cultures and will allow me to view the American society from an outside perspective,” Bropleh said. “I’ve been fairly focused throughout my college career; next year will give me a chance to reflect.”

Finally, McCaleb said he’s looking forward to a “more relaxed” year before entering law school. “St. Andrews has a program—international security studies—that fits perfectly with my career goals,” said McCaleb, a political science and music major from Succasunna, N.J. “The contacts I’ll make and the education I’ll receive in Scotland should have huge implications for the rest of my life.”