Dec. 9, 2002

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Contact: Barbara Schowen, KU honors program, (785) 864-4225; Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

2 Rhodes Scholars selected from Kansas, only 8 selected from state universities

Editor's note: A photo scan of Robert M. Chamberlain is available on request from University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

LAWRENCE -- Robert Michael Chamberlain, a May 2002 University of Kansas graduate from Topeka and Yates Center, won one of 32 prestigious Rhodes scholarships, which provide more than $50,000 for two years of graduate study at Oxford University.

Chamberlain is one of two Kansans among the 32 Rhodes scholars selected. Benjamin Champion, a Kansas State University student from Olathe, also won. Rhodes officials announced the winners Dec. 7 following the final competition in eight regions of the United States. No other Big 12 conference schools were represented among the 32 new scholars.

Chamberlain and Champion were among only eight scholars selected from state public universities; 13 scholars were from Ivy League universities.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said: "Kansans can take tremendous pride in both these young scholars. To have two scholars from Kansas emerge from this wealth of talented students throughout the United States is a great tribute to higher education in Kansas."

Chamberlain becomes the 24th KU student to win a Rhodes scholarship. KU students have won more Rhodes scholarships than those at all other Kansas colleges and universities combined. Chamberlain and Champion will be members of the 100th class of Rhodes scholars at Oxford University. Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and colonist, established the Rhodes scholarships in 1902, and the first scholars were selected in 1903.

As a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Chamberlain is serving as a field artillery officer at Fort Sill, Okla., until April 2003, when he transfers to Fort Campbell, Ky. Chamberlain plans a public service career in international law in a position that will enable him to influence and create international agreements and legal policy, and to change the way policy makers, political scientists and defense leaders think about international law.

In his senior year at KU, Chamberlain wrote an honors thesis studying international applications of the regime theory, which was developed in the 1980s to examine strengths and weaknesses of political regimes. With the Rhodes scholarship, Chamberlain will continue his study of regime theory at Oxford.

At KU, Chamberlain was a 2001 Truman scholar, a National Merit scholar, an Army ROTC battalion commander and a newspaper columnist. He competed for a Rhodes scholarship in 2001 and was eligible to compete again this fall. He graduated with distinction and university honors as well as departmental honors in political science.

Chamberlain is the son of Michael and Judy Chamberlain and is a graduate of Washburn Rural High School. He also attended Yates Center High School. He is married to Kristen Lee Chamberlain, a KU junior in business and daughter of Judy M. Carlson, Topeka.

The 32 scholars selected for 2003 emerged from 98 finalists nationwide. A total of 981 applicants representing 341 colleges and universities were considered in the first round of competition. U.S. students ages 18 to 24 who demonstrate high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, leadership potential and physical vigor are eligible to apply.

A total of 2,982 Americans, including those selected this past weekend, have won Rhodes scholarships since 1903. Chamberlain and Champion join an international group of scholars from 18 other jurisdictions around the world. Approximately 95 scholars are selected worldwide each year.

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