Virginia Cadet Named Rhodes Scholar

Vicky Mouze

High academic achievement. Leadership potential. A spirit of unselfishness.

The traits sought by the Army in ROTC Cadets, it turns out, virtually mirror those sought by the Rhodes Trust in applicants it considers for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Despite his success in the community, in the classroom and in ROTC, University of Virginia Cadet Joseph Riley remained skeptical about his chances of receiving the honor after he applied this fall.

"I had told my parents that I didn't see how I could win, given how talented all the other finalists were," he said.

But Riley's credentials proved just as strong. The 22-year-old senior was named one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars Nov. 17 and will begin studying at the famed Oxford University in October 2013.

Winners were selected from a pool of 838 candidates nominated by their colleges and universities. Riley is the first Army ROTC Cadet to earn the scholarship since 2009.

"I was just extremely grateful and humbled," he said.

The scholarships fully fund two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but also for their character, commitment to others and to the common good and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead.

Riley, who is majoring in Mandarin Chinese and is in the honors program in government and foreign affairs, ranked 10th on ROTC's 2012-13 National Order of Merit List. He is co-authoring a book on Sino-American relations and has done field research on Chinese mineral extraction industries in Africa.

Riley has attended the Army's Airborne and Air Assault schools and founded an organization to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. He also has completed an internship with the National Ground Intelligence Center.

At the University of Virginia, he was elected to the university's Student Government and Honor Committee and started the Alexander Hamilton Society, a national organization focused on fostering foreign policy debate and discussions on college campuses.

Riley plans to complete a master's and doctorate in international relations at Oxford and later serve as an Army infantry officer.

Click here to read the full article.