UCLA student and recent graduate earn Rhodes Scholarships for 2009

By Cynthia Lee
UCLA Newsroom

A UCLA senior and a recent graduate have been chosen as winners of prestigious Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and best known award for international study.  

UCLA senior Scott W. Hugo of Alamo, Calif., and 2008 graduate Christopher D. Joseph of Santa Barbara, Calif., were among the 32 American men and women announced as Rhodes Scholars on Nov. 22. They will enter Oxford in October 2009. Eleven UCLA students have been named Rhodes Scholars, going back to 1925.  

 Hugo majors in political science and history. A junior member of Phi Beta Kappa, he has done research on U.S.-China relations and other aspects of East Asian affairs. He has been a starter on the UCLA rugby team since his freshman year and was captain as a sophomore.  

President of his fraternity and a leader of youth groups against violence in Los Angeles, Hugo also was one of the top organizers in the Bruins for Obama campaign. At Oxford, he plans to pursue a master's of philosophy in international relations.   Joseph graduated summa cum laude from UCLA last June in geography. A four-year varsity football player and three-year starter, he was team captain for 10 of 12 games in 2007 before suffering a season-ending injury. He amassed a near-perfect academic record while focusing his studies on the complex social and scientific causes of deforestation.  

Joseph has done ecological and geographic research on exotic species in the broadleaf forests of Brazil, glaciers in arctic Canada, migration in Morocco and inter-tribal trading in Micronesia. At Oxford, he plans to pursue a master's of philosophy in geography.  

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England and may allow funding in some instances for four years.  

Arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates, the scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and colonial pioneer in Africa. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.  

To be chosen as Rhodes Scholars, candidates must first be endorsed by their college or university. More than 1,500 students each year seek their institution's endorsement; this year, 769 were endorsed by 207 different colleges and universities.  

Other UCLA-affiliated Rhodes Scholars have included:  

Annette Salmeen (1997) Salmeen is the most famous of UCLA's Rhodes Scholars. A biochemistry major at UCLA, she was the 1996 Pac-10 swimming champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly. She also won the 1996 NCAA championship in the 200-meter butterfly, the first UCLA women's swimmer to win an individual title. The same year, she won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in Atlanta as a member of the 800-meter freestyle relay. Her Rhodes Scholarship took her to further biochemistry studies at St. John's College, Oxford University.   

Spencer Eth (1973) Eth was a medical student at UCLA when he was awarded his scholarship. He was keenly interested in mental health and how medicine can best treat those disadvantaged in society. Eth became vice chair of the department of psychiatry at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, the closest trauma center to "ground zero" on Sept. 11, 2001. Eth has spent his professional career treating and studying children, Vietnam veterans and others struggling with issues of trauma and grief.  

George Rosa (1971) Rosa had strong ties to UCLA; his father was a professor of Spanish and Portuguese. He was a double major in English and French.  

Harold Griffin (1969) Griffin was a UCLA football player, as well as a political science major on the Dean's List. He was the hero of a 1967 game against Penn State, when he blocked a punt, recovered the ball and scored.    

William Zeltonoga (1962) Zeltonoga was an undergraduate major in philosophy and a star of the UCLA wrestling team. He later served in Vietnam and received his law degree from Harvard.  

David Maxwell (1955) Maxwell was a graduate student in anatomy when he won the Rhodes Scholarship. After receiving his degree in physiology from Oxford, he returned to UCLA, earned his Ph.D. and joined the faculty as a professor of anatomy.  

Steven Muller (1948) Muller was a political science graduate student at UCLA when he received word he had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He went on to a distinguished career in academia. Beginning in 1972, Muller served as the 10th president of Johns Hopkins University, with a dual appointment as president of the hospital. Upon his retirement in 1990, he was named president emeritus.   

Thomas Lambert (1936) An active undergraduate -- he was Student Council President, among other achievements -- Lambert received two law degrees at Oxford. He later was trial counsel during the famous Nuremberg trials and became editor-in-chief for the American Trial Lawyers Association.  

John W. Olmsted (1925) During his two years at UCLA, Olmsted played for the tennis team. He then transferred to UC Berkeley, where he studied engineering before being selected as a Rhodes Scholar.