News & Media



Oberlin Senior Named Rhodes Scholar

Nov 25, 2008

Lucas Brown '09OBERLIN, OHIO -- Lucas Brown ’09 of Leesburg, VA, a sustainability advocate and economics major at Oberlin College, has been named a 2009 Rhodes Scholar. He will enter the University of Oxford in England in October 2009 to pursue an M.Phil. degree in economics.

Brown is the among 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars; at Oxford they will join an international group of Scholars selected from 13 other jurisdictions around the world. Approximately 80 Scholars are selected worldwide each year. Rhodes scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford and may allow funding in some instances for four years.

Upon learning he had won a Rhodes, Brown, 22, said, “I'm surprised and I'm humbled. This has been such an incredible group effort––not only by the professors and friends who edited my essay or grilled me with practice questions, but by all of the students and staff involved in every project that ended up on my resume.”

Brown says he plans to use the Rhodes Scholarship to study how environmental and business interests “can go together--how you can create jobs and grow the green economy while cleaning up our water, air, and atmosphere.”

Winner of a 2008 Udall Scholarship for environmental leadership, the Oberlin senior helped found and design Oberlin’s SEED House (Student Experiment in Ecological Design), the only U.S. house to monitor its real-time total carbon footprint.

Brown also co-founded the Green EDGE Fund (Oberlin Ecological Design and General Efficiency) that loans money for student-designed campus energy conservation projects and returns the energy savings to the fund as interest. Brown is a member of the campus environmental policy group that organized a car share program and successfully lobbied the College to commit to a LEED Silver standard and work toward eventual carbon neutrality. In addition, he helped reduce Oberlin's carbon emissions by maintaining the EPA-award-winning dorm energy monitoring system.

Off campus, he has worked for Washington, D. C. Mayor Adrian Fenty ’92, conducting research on D.C.’s job training programs and inspecting earmarks for Fenty's budget director, Will Singer '03. He also served as lead programmer of, one of the most innovative advocacy web sites on the Internet. He successfully lobbied the legislative directors of Senator John McCain and eight U.S. representatives to reduce mountaintop removal by cosponsoring the Clean Water Protection Act. Brown also is a jazz pianist.

Rhodes scholarships are “the oldest and best known award for international study, and arguably the most famous academic award available to American college graduates,” says Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust. The will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, created the scholarships in 1902. The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

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