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Release date: Dec. 12, 2000
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or


Emory student Michael J. Friedman, a senior from St. Louis, Mo., was a finalist for this year's Rhodes Scholarship. Only 32 college and university students in the United States are awarded Rhodes Scholarships to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Oxford in England. He was selected as one of 95 finalists from among 950 applicants who were endorsed by 327 colleges and universities nationwide.

"Michael is truly a remarkable young man," says Emory College Dean Steven Sanderson. "An excellent student, he has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in scholarship, sports, the fine arts and in his religious community."

While Friedman is disappointed not to have been selected as a Rhodes scholar after getting so close, he is thrilled to have had the experience. "It was such a great honor to be asked by Emory to apply and then to have my application endorsed by the university. This is an experience I will always remember."

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a three-stage process. First, candidates must be endorsed by their college or university. Committees of selection in each state then nominate candidates who are interviewed by district selection committees in eight regions of the United States. Friedman was a finalist in his home state of Missouri.

Friedman is co-majoring in political science and English, and hoped to use a Rhodes scholarship to pursue a master of philosophy degree in politics, focusing on the political development of the Palestine Mandate. He planned to study Sir Herbert Samuel, the first high commissioner of Palestine, who also was the first publicly Jewish member of a British cabinet. During last summer's Emory study abroad program at Oxford, Friedman used the opportunity to do research on the collections of Samuel's papers at Oxford's Bodleian Library.

In addition to a stellar academic career, Friedman has excelled in many areas at Emory. He is a key member of Emory's nationally-ranked tennis team, and president and soloist of the nationally known men's a cappella group, No Strings Attached. One of the songs he arranged for the group's fourth compact disc was recently selected for the Best of College A Cappella Collection. He has participated in Theater Emory productions and performed with the University Chorus.

Friedman is an active member of Emory Hillel, including membership of its general board and executive task force. He has arranged for weekly academic discussions of Jewish text through Hillel and the Jewish Educational Alliance. He currently is working with the Black Student Alliance to form a regular breakfast discussion group designed to encourage dialogue between black and Jewish students on campus.

The list of honors for Friedman's academic and athletic achievements includes the Sonny Carter Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship for the recipient's senior year in honor of an Emory alumnus; Goodrich C. White merit scholarship; and membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board and Pi Sigma Alpha honor societies. He was selected to the University Athletic Association (UAA) All-Conference First Team for his 19-3 singles record in tennis last season, the ITA All-Academic Team of Student Athletes and the UAA All-Academic team.

Emory has had 16 Rhodes Scholars. Emory student Danielle Sered was selected as a Rhodes Scholar last year, and currently is pursuing her master of philosophy degree in English at Oxford. The Rhodes Scholarship, established in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist and colonial pioneer Cecil Rhodes, is the oldest international study award available to American students. Scholars are chosen based on high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.

The scholarship pays all college and university fees and provides a stipend to cover expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations. The total value averages approximately $27,000 per year depending on the degree being pursued.

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