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Warden of Rhodes House

Dr Elizabeth Kiss (Virginia & Balliol 1983)

Dr Elizabeth Kiss (pronounced ‘quiche’) became Warden of Rhodes House and CEO of the Rhodes Trust in August 2018, the first woman to hold this position.  She oversees the world’s oldest graduate scholarship, the Rhodes Scholarship, as well as several partnership programmes.  Founded in 1903, the Rhodes Scholarships support outstanding students from around the world for graduate study at the University of Oxford.   One hundred Scholars are selected annually on the basis of intellect, character, leadership potential, and commitment to service.  Dr Kiss has launched the 125th Anniversary Strategic plan for the Rhodes Trust which will expand the annual number of Scholars to 125 with a wider global profile. It also includes an ambitious fundraising campaign, deepening the alumni lifelong fellowship and increase the connection and impact of our partnership programmes which include The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, Atlantic Institute, Schmidt Science Fellowship programme and Rise.  

In the past five years new Rhodes Scholarships have been added in China, Israel, Syria-Jordan-Lebanon-Palestine, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, West and East Africa as well as in a new Global constituency which extends eligibility to students everywhere. Rhodes Scholars may pursue any full-time postgraduate course of study offered at Oxford and stay for two or more years.  They are resident in various Oxford colleges, but gather regularly in Rhodes House to receive academic, professional and personal support, for diverse opportunities to build fellowship and learn from and with each other, and for a signature cohort-based programme focused on Character, Service and Leadership development.  The Rhodes Scholarships have a remarkable legacy of educating leaders from all walks of life.  

Before joining the Rhodes Trust, Dr Kiss served for twelve years as president of Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. During her tenure, Agnes Scott broke records for enrolment and retention and was named the second ‘Most Diversified College in America’ by Time, the country’s most successful liberal arts college for graduating low-income students by the U.S. Department of Education, and the #1 Most Innovative National Liberal Arts College by U.S. News and World Report.  From 1997 to 2006 Dr Kiss served as the founding director of Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, building a university wide interdisciplinary centre focused on promoting moral reflection and commitment in personal, professional, organisational and civic life. Dr Kiss has also taught at Randolph-Macon College (Virginia), Deep Springs College (California) and at Princeton University for eight years. She is a scholar of moral and political philosophy and she has published on moral education, human rights, ethnic conflict and nationalism, feminist theory, and transitional justice.  Dr Kiss received her BA in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Davidson College in North Carolina, becoming Davidson’s first female Rhodes Scholar and receiving a BPhil and DPhil in philosophy from the University of Oxford. 

 

History of Wardens

1903-1931
Sir Francis Wylie
Previously Fellow & Tutor, Brasenose College, Oxford

1931-1952
Sir Carleton Allen
Previously Professor of Jurisprudence and Fellow of University College, Oxford

1952-1980
Sir Edgar Williams
Previously Fellow & Tutor in History, Balliol College, Oxford; Chief of Intelligence to Montgomery in World War II

1980-1989
Dr Robin Fletcher
Previously Fellow & Bursar of Trinity College, Oxford; Olympian (field hockey)

1989-1999
Sir Anthony Kenny
Previously Master of Balliol College, Oxford; also Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and President of the British Academy

1999-2004
Dr John Rowett
Previously Fellow & Tutor in History, Brasenose College, Oxford; subsequently Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities

2004-2009
Sir Colin Lucas
Previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and Master of Balliol College, Oxford

2009-2012
Dr Donald Markwell (Queensland & Trinity 1981)
Previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Western Australia; Warden of Trinity College, University of Melbourne; Fellow & Tutor in Politics, Merton College, Oxford

2012-2013
Dr Andrew Graham, Acting Warden
Previously Master of Balliol College, Oxford

2013-2018
Mr Charles Conn, (Massachusetts & Balliol 1983)
Previously Senior Advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and co-founder of Citysearch

2018-present
Dr Elizabeth Kiss (Virginia & Balliol 1983)
Previously President of Agnes Scott College, Georgia and  founding director of Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics