Auburn University senior and recent graduate named Rhodes Scholarship finalists

Published: October 30, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY - Auburn University senior Tofey Leon and 2014 graduate Azeem Ahmed have been selected as finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. If awarded, they will be among 32 U.S. students to receive the honor for an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Both Leon and Ahmed will interview in Birmingham in late November. Leon and Ahmed’s selection marks the fifth consecutive year that Auburn University students have been named as finalists.

“These two Auburn students have excelled throughout their academic careers,” said Melissa Bauman, Auburn University assistant provost and director of the Honors College. “Through their commitment to their academic studies, their dedication to their athletic and leadership activities, and hard work, they epitomize the Auburn Creed. Their success would not have been possible without the support and guidance of the many Auburn faculty and staff who have taught and mentored these students to help them reach this honor. We are thrilled about the possibility of adding the Rhodes Scholar distinction to their list of accomplishments.”

Leon, of Mobile is a senior majoring in biomedical sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics and is a former member of the Auburn Swimming and Diving Team where he served as team captain during the 2013-2104 season. Leon is the recipient of the Cliff Hare Award, the 2014 SEC Men’s Swimming and Diving Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, and earlier this spring he was awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. A recipient of Auburn’s Cellular and Molecular Biosciences Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, his faculty mentor is Associate Professor Michael Squillacote in the Department of Chemistry. If selected Leon plans to pursue a research master’s of science in primary health care.

Ahmed of Auburn is an August 2014 Honors College graduate with a major in finance in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business and a minor in sustainability. A 2014 Clinton Global Hunger Leadership Fellow and 2013 Truman Scholar, Ahmed is the recipient of the President’s Medal in the Harbert College of Business for academic year 2013-2014. While at Auburn, Ahmed served as vice president of Campus Kitchens and president of the Committee of 19. His faculty mentor is Harriet Giles, director of external relations in the College of Human Sciences and managing director of the Auburn University Hunger Solutions Institute. If selected Ahmed plans to read for a double master’s of science in medical anthropology and global health sciences.

“Tofey and Azeem represent the very best of Auburn University students," said Paul Harris, associate director for National Prestigious Scholarships. “It is a joy to work with such kind, conscientious and civically minded young men.”

The Rhodes Scholarship, one of the oldest in the world, is awarded to students with proven intellectual and academic achievement, integrity of character, qualities of leadership and proven respect for their fellow humankind. Founded in 1904, the scholarship is one of the oldest international fellowships and is administered by the Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes.

Auburn University has had four Rhodes Scholars beginning with Hugh Long in 1949, Ed Gentle in 1978, Susan Karamanian in 1981 and Jordan Anderson in 2009.

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