Ralph H. Smith II Re-elected President of Association of American Rhodes Scholars

September 26, 2018

Ralph H. Smith II, special counsel in the Jones Walker Birmingham office and CEO of the Ralph Smith Group LLC, has been re-elected to a two-year term as President of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS). Mr. Smith is the first Alabama Rhodes Scholar to lead the prestigious organization.

“We at the Rhodes Trust were delighted to learn of Ralph Smith’s re-election as President of AARS for a further term. He has worked tirelessly in the interests of AARS for many years.  As President he has deepened the relationship with the Rhodes Trust in numerous ways that are beneficial to AARS, the Trust, and Oxford. We very much look forward to continuing to work with Ralph and his colleagues in the interests of AARS members and the wider Rhodes community,” said Sir John Hood, Chairman of the Rhodes Trust and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Mr. Smith has served on the board of AARS since 2006. He is responsible for the annual Rhodes Scholarship selections in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the American Caribbean. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he received an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue leading the American Rhodes Scholar community. My time studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar was a formative experience, and I look forward to serving the university and the Rhodes Scholarships in the years to come,” said Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith served for almost a decade as General Counsel and a Member of the Chancellor's Senior Policy Staff at The University of Alabama System, where he also taught and advised on international initiatives. A corporate and business transactions lawyer by training, Mr. Smith attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1973 to 1976 and in 2012 helped launch the Global Innovation Alliance, a consortium of business, government, and academic institutions to promote innovation and economic development. In 2015, Mr. Smith was named a Distinguished Friend of Oxford by Oxford University. He was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 to the Order of St. John, an Order of Chivalry of the British Crown with historical roots in the 11th century, and was promoted to Officer of the Order in 2018. 

Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, CEO & Warden of The Rhodes Trust, said, “Dedicated alumni leaders like Ralph Smith play a vital role in the global success of the Rhodes Scholarship.  I am grateful to Ralph for his service and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him as I begin my term as Warden.”  

About AARS and the Rhodes Scholarships
The AARS (www.americanrhodes.org) was founded in 1907 and today has a membership of more than 2,200 Rhodes Scholars elected from or currently living in the USA. The mission of AARS is to bring Rhodes Scholars in America together in support of the Rhodes Scholarships, Oxford University and the qualities of scholarship, leadership and service that underlie the awards. The AARS publishes a highly acclaimed journal, The American Oxonian, promotes reunions and events, and administers charitable trusts supporting Oxford University and the distinguished Eastman Professorship at Oxford.

The Rhodes Scholarships (http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/) were created in 1903 and are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world, providing students from the USA and 60 other countries with postgraduate education at Oxford University. Today there are more than 5,000 Rhodes Scholars worldwide.

About Jones Walker
Jones Walker LLP (www.joneswalker.com) is among the 120 largest law firms in the United States serving local, regional, national, and international business interests with offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas. The firm is committed to providing a comprehensive range of legal services to major multinational, public and private corporations, Fortune500® companies, money center banks, worldwide insurers, and emerging companies doing business in the United States and abroad.

About The Ralph Smith Group LLC
The Ralph Smith Group LLC (www.ralphsmithgroup.com) provides strategic consulting services to business and higher education institutions worldwide.

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