Cadet Named VMI’s 11th Rhodes Scholar

Virginia Military Institute Press

LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 23, 2008 – Cadet Gregory E. Lippiatt is one of 32 American men and women selected to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, the Rhodes Trust announced yesterday. In the process, the York, Pa., native also became the 11th cadet from Virginia Military Institute to earn the honor since 1921.

Lippiatt is a 1st Class cadet, what VMI calls its seniors. He is double majoring in history and English, with a concentration in military history. His scholarly interests are focused on the medieval period. He intends to pursue a doctorate in medieval studies following his study at Oxford and his service as an Army Officer.

The son of David K. and Christine Lippiatt, he is a graduate of York Suburban Senior High School in York, Pa.

Lippiatt plays for the VMI rugby club; is editor of Sounding Brass, VMI’s literary magazine; has written for a military history journal; and has acted in four college plays. At Oxford, he plans to work on a master of studies degree in byzantine studies.

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, superintendent of VMI, noted that Lippiatt is a well-rounded cadet, excelling academically, athletically, and militarily.

“We are all very proud of Greg,” Peay said. “In addition to being academically accomplished, he is a battalion commander, which is a senior position in the Corps of Cadets. He is well liked and respected.  He will be a splendid Army officer.”
Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, called the Rhodes Scholarships, “the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates.” The scholarship program was created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

Lippiatt was one of more than 1,500 students apply for the scholarships. Of those, 769 were endorsed by 207 different colleges and universities. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. Gerson estimates that the total value of the scholarship averages approximately $50,000 per year.

The last VMI cadet to win a Rhodes Scholarship was Michael Lokale in 2003. He was selected for the honor by the Kenyan Rhodes Trust.  Lokale is now in his medical residency in Virginia and intends to return to his native Kenya.

Previous VMI Rhodes Scholars

Samuel W. Washington Jr., 1921
Henry H. Cooke, 1921
John W. Pendleton, 1928
Robert Q. Marston, 1944
William B. Adams, 1947
George W. Hardy III, 1954
Lee Badgett, 1961
Josiah Bunting, 1963
Robert C. Randolph, 1967
Michael Lokale, 2003