Washington (7 December 2020) – The 46 recipients of the 2021 Marshall Scholarships have been unveiled today by the British government. The winners, considered to be among the best and brightest university students and recent graduates in the United States, were chosen following a rigorous selection process and will begin graduate studies at many of the UK’s top academic institutions beginning in September 2021.
For the first time in the programme’s 66-year history, the incoming class will be majority-minority with 52% reflecting minority communities across the United States, including a record number of Black and Latinx Scholars. A majority of the class are female Scholars and six are first-generation college students.
“Marshall Scholarship classes traditionally represent a diverse mix of cultural, academic, institutional and socio-economic backgrounds, but the 2021 class is truly ground-breaking,” said Dame Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the United States, “This class, one of the most diverse and inclusive in the programme’s history, is a wonderful mirror of modern American society and demonstrates the vital role that the Marshall Scholarship continues to play in maintaining a vibrant US-UK relationship.”
Overall, the 2021 class represents a wide range of academic backgrounds and includes activists for social justice, an elected public official, entrepreneurs, journalists, scientists, and artists. Several Scholars will be pursuing degrees related to the urgency of Climate Change and Renewable Energy and will arrive in the UK two months before the country hosts the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.
“Throughout the life of the Programme, Marshall Scholars have regularly pursued academic disciplines which reflect contemporary issues and priorities” said Christopher Fisher, Chair of the Marshall Commission. “With this new class, we see Scholars continuing to search for a better understanding of today’s world and how best to meet tomorrow’s challenges. In the face of the most pressing current crisis - the COVID-19 pandemic -- we see dozens of Marshall Scholars contributing to finding a solution to the associated health, social and economic challenges, whether in the laboratory, in the hospital or in the formulation of policy and practical responses.”
Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, the programme received a record 1,190 applicants from top undergraduate students representing institutions across the United States. Of the 35 US institutions represented in the class, nearly half are from state or public universities, alongside two winners from the US Naval Academy and the US Military Academy. Connecticut College and Georgia State University will send Marshall Scholars to the UK for the first time ever, while Hamilton College and the University of Tennessee each won their first Scholarship in over three decades.
The programme is principally funded by the British Government, but also benefits from generous support through partnership arrangements with world-leading British academic institutions, allowing winners to pursue graduate degrees in almost any academic subject at any university in the UK. The 2021 class will take up their studies at 14 different institutions across the UK beginning in September next year, ranging from the London School of Economics & Political Science to Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.
The Scholarship programme also continues to receive generous support from the Association of Marshall Scholars (AMS), the official alumni organisation of the Marshall Scholarship. The British Schools & Universities Foundation (BUSF) also provides generous support and funds for a Scholarship.
About the Marshall Scholarship
Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarship Program began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for the assistance that the UK received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Since that time, it has remained uniquely positioned among national scholarships for its prestige and scope: offering talented young Americans the chance to study any academic subject at UK universities of their choice for up to 3 years. This has given rise to an unprecedented breadth of expertise in almost every academic field, producing numerous university presidents, six Pulitzer Prize winners, one Nobel Laureate, fourteen MacArthur Fellows, two-academy-Award nominees, two Supreme Court Justices and a NASA Astronaut.
With over 2,100 Scholarships awarded to date, Marshall Scholars are leading the conversation and direction of some of the most critical issues of our time. Notable winners of the scholarship include:
- Supreme Court Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch
- Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Anne Applebaum, Tom Friedman, Jeffrey Gettleman and Dan Yergin
- Ray Dolby, Founder of Dolby Laboratories and 1997 winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation
- Dr. Dan Barouch, Leading COVID-19 vaccine researcher and William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
- Dr. Nancy Cox, Former Director of Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Reid Hoffman, Philanthropist and founder of social networking platform LinkedIn
- Anne McClain, NASA Astronaut who served aboard the International Space Station in 2018
- Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State for the State of Michigan
- Patrick Hovakimian, Associate Deputy Attorney General, US Department of Justice
- Joshua Oppenheimer, Academy Award-nominated documentary film director of The Act of Killing
- William Burns, Former US Deputy Secretary of State and President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Nancy Gibbs, Former Managing Editor of TIME Magazine
- Roger Tsien, 2008 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry
- R.F. Kuang, Author of the Poppy War book series and 2020 winner of the Astounding Award for Best New Writer