Nov. 23, 2008
Chris Joseph, a three-year starter for the UCLA football team (2005-07) has earned one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships awarded on November 22. He will study in Oxford beginning next fall.
Joseph started for two seasons at offensive guard before moving to center for his senior season (2007). A two-time first-team Academic All-American, he graduated in June of 2008 with a 3.95 grade-point average. He majored in Geography with a focus on the complex social and scientific causes of deforestation. At Oxford, he plans to do his Masters of Philosophy in Geography.
The District 16 selection process was held in San Francisco on November 21-22. On Friday evening, the 16 candidates attended a reception, meeting each other as well as the selection committee. Interviews were held throughout the day on Saturday and the selection of the two recipients was made Saturday might.
"The reception on Friday night was informal and we all got a chance to meet each other and speak with members of the selection committee," said Joseph. "At the end of the reception, we drew for interview times.
"My interview was at 8:45 Saturday morning, so I really didn't have time to worry about it. The interview was interesting. Some of the questions I answered because they were in my field, some were kind of off-the-wall, not my area of expertise. I had to say I didn't know a couple of times.
"We all had to be back at 4:30 pm when the first round of interviews was over," Joseph said. "Some candidates were called in for second or even third interviews. When those were done, the committee deliberated.
"We sat in that room until 9:30 pm, when the committee members came into the room. We all stood in a circle and the committee members thanked us for our participation and then announced the two recipients. The first was Scott Hugo, who also goes to UCLA. Then they announced my name. I was stunned. It took about 10-15 seconds for me to realize they had said my name.
"That scholarship could have gone to any of the 16 candidates, they were all amazing. After the announcement, we did some paperwork and they explained what would happen over the next few months. Then I went back to the hotel and called my parents and my girlfriend.
"I want to thank everyone that has helped me reach this point. I couldn't have done it without the support of my coaches and the athletic department staff at UCLA who put a premium on the student experience and also wrote letters of support, as well as all of my professors and the staff at the Honors Department at UCLA. I also appreciate the athletic department honoring my request to keep the information about my progress out of the news until after the selection process was complete."
Joseph is the fifth UCLA student-athlete to earn a Rhodes Scholarship. The others are: 1997, Annette Salmeen, swimming; 1969, Harold Griffin, football; 1962, William Zeltanoga, wrestling; 1925, John Olmsted, tennis.
In addition, Scott Hugo, a UCLA senior majoring in Political Science and History, is also a Rhodes Scholar recipient. He is a starter on the UCLA rugby club team and is a junior member of Phi Beta Kappa. He will pursue his Masters of Philosophy in International Relations.
Alex McGoodwin, a standout for the Bruin women's tennis team from 2004-2008, was a semifinalist for a Rhodes Scholarship. In 2008, she helped the Bruins win their first-ever NCAA team title in women's tennis.