On 12 April 2015 I posted David Brooks’s New York Times article ‘The Moral Bucket List’ in which he advocates the beauty of ‘stumbling’ in life and the ultimate emptiness of ambition and ‘success’. I posted it on our communal web portal and suggested that perhaps we – as a community – would benefit from embracing stumbling over career-building ambition.
The response from my fellow Scholars was overwhelming: stories of introspection and discovery from all over the world. Scholars who stepped off the beaten path of the predictable career set up by their Oxford studies as well as Scholars who are living their Rhodes professional dreams. Everyone shared their interpretation of ‘fighting the world’s fight’ and what the Rhodes Scholarship means to them. And everyone seemed to agree that (1) we are so lucky to have won the Rhodes Scholarship; and (2) this gift has profoundly changed our diverse lives for the better.
Here is a taste of how some of the contributors are ‘fighting the world’s fight’ today.
Kris Abrams (Washington & Wadham 1998)
After working for 10 years in various non-profit leadership roles, Kris noticed that she kept burning out. Frustrated and confused, she sought clarity on a solo trek on the Pacific Crest Trail. As she walked, she let go of all the ‘shoulds’ in her life and rediscovered her truest self. Kris now practises as a nature-based psychotherapist and shamanic practitioner with Cedar Tree Healing Arts in Boulder, Colorado. She finds deep happiness in helping people to live lives of connection, meaning and joy.
Win Churchill (Pennsylvania & New College 1962)
Win has done some physics, some law practice, some private equity investing and latterly some venture investing, with an emphasis on the life sciences, and a concentration in Israeli technologies. He and his wife Ellen have founded and managed inner-city grade schools, both charter and private, in Philadelphia; Trenton, NJ; Washington, DC and Memphis, Tennessee.
Richard Cogswell (Tasmania & St Peter's 1974)
Richard is a judge of the District Court of New South Wales in Australia and Chair of the Guiding Board of the World Community for Christian Meditation.
Brett Fairbairn (Prairies & New College 1981)
Brett lives in Saskatoon, Canada with his wife Norma, near to their three children, and he is a professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy where he teaches and does research on governance, leadership and co-operatives.
John A. Knubel (New Jersey & University 1963)
For John, his Christian belief originated in adolescence, was almost destroyed by Oxford philosophic questioning but then reconstituted as his journey continued. Since then it’s been a source of stability, hope, meaning and encouragement as he has pursued a life being a father, husband, public servant and business leader.
Kim Grose Moore (New York & Jesus 1990)
After 20+ years as a non-profit leader and community organiser in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kim is increasingly pursuing her commitment to social and racial justice through spiritual service. She is studying Buddhist Chaplaincy and volunteers at a men's state prison and with a hospice. She lives with her family in San Jose, CA, is active in her daughter's public school, gardens, and reads.
George Patton (Bermuda & Hertford 1973)
George became a technology consultant and computer network manager and the majority of his clients over the years have been in the non-profit, educational, and public advocacy sector. He currently serves on the board of Canadian Aviation Pride, an LGBT advocacy group.
Roger Sorrell (Kansas & Corpus Christi 1975)
Roger worked for many years in Hawaii at a laboratory where he grew endangered native plants in test tubes to save them from extinction while leading the first programme in Hawaii to help Hawaiian elders at risk of neglect or abuse. Now he is also a plant portraitist, and exhibits in galleries.
Dorothy Steane (Tasmania & University 1991)
After 20 years in a highly competitive and unstable science environment, Dorothy is studying for a Diploma of Pilates Instruction with a view to helping people to overcome pain and stay mobile through all stages of life.
Samuel Calvin Thigpen (Mississippi & Brasenose 1999)
Currently Calvin is enjoying life with his wife and three children in Jackson, Mississippi, where he works as an academic general internal medicine physician and internal medicine residency associate programme director at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre.
Frank White (Mississippi & New College 1966)
Frank developed the theory of the Overview Effect – a cognitive shift resulting from seeing the Earth from orbit or the Moon. His book on the theory is in its third edition and Frank continues his investigation of this complex phenomenon and its implications for the future through his writing, speaking and work with the Overview Institute.
Cristina Bejan (North Carolina & Wadham 2004) read an Mst Historical Research and a DPhil History (Modern) at the University of Oxford. Cristina is a playwright and Guest Lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute and George Washington University.