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Former Honor Council chair wins Rhodes Scholarship

All of Julian Harris' achievements led to one Rhodes.

Harris, a Trinity senior and former chair of the Honor Council, was named the University's 29th Rhodes Scholar Sunday.

The highly prestigious scholarship will allow Harris and 31 other American recipients the opportunity to study at Oxford University for two years. Harris said he will study in the Politics, Philosophy and Economics program, thus building on his undergraduate Program II major in medical ethics and health policy.

"I think it will really allow me to draw on my strengths from my undergraduate years," Harris said of the opportunity. "I'm really excited." Harris, who was a member of the committee that created Curriculum 2000, is also a musician and was a member of the Duke Chorale for several years.

He said he sings "all kinds of music," a talent he believes helped him in the application process. "I think they're basically looking for a well-rounded person," he said. "I actually had to sing at my state interview... which was pretty unusual." Harris' love of music was also one of his motives for applying for the scholarship. Oxford is one of the premier places in the world to study music, Harris said, and he hopes to devote more time to it than he has the last few years. "I've been really busy at Duke," he said. "I've always felt like my music had to compete with everything else."

The Rhodes is Harris' third major scholarship award. He has studied at Duke as an Angier B. Duke scholar, and received the Truman Scholarship in March for graduate study.

After his studies at Oxford, Harris plans to use his Truman Scholarship to earn either an MBA, a law degree or a doctorate once he returns to the United States. He also plans to attend medical school.

For Harris, his years at Duke played a key role in his preparation for the scholarship. "For one thing, Duke has a strong program to prepare students for national scholarships... and Duke students tend to be more well-rounded in general than students at other schools," he said.

He believes that his background as a Program II major also played an important role. "I think a Program II student has a certain advantage because they've taken the initiative to chart their own academic course," he said.

Associate Dean of Trinity College Mary Nijhout, who has been involved with the Rhodes program since 1991, agreed. The University has had a Rhodes Scholarship winner for seven consecutive years, and Harris marks the third Program II major.

Nijhout stressed that the ability to form his own major helped Harris present an application with strong academic and extracurricular credentials in the same area-ethics. "It makes a very strong candidate," she said. "His interests are very coherent."

Nijhout added that Harris was one of nine Rhodes candidates from Duke to make it to the state level-last year, only six University students achieved that.

Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs Kacie Wallace, who worked with Harris in his two years leading the Honor Council, said she thinks his integrity made him a viable candidate for the scholarship. "He's an all-around wonderful person," she said. "I think his ethics have taken him a long way, as well as his intellect."

Harris, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., expressed his joy over the award. "I'm sort of going to be on cloud nine over Christmas break," he said.


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