Auburn senior Sarah Pitts finalist for Rhodes Scholarship

Published: Nov 02, 2016
Updated: Nov 03, 2016
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Auburn University senior Sarah Pitts is a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. If awarded, she will be among 32 U.S. students to receive the honor of studying at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Pitts will interview in Birmingham in late November. Her selection marks the seventh consecutive year that Auburn University students have been named as finalists.

“Sarah has excelled throughout her time at Auburn University,” said Melissa Bauman, Auburn University assistant provost and director of the Honors College. “Through her commitment to her academic studies, her leadership activities and her volunteerism, she epitomizes the Auburn Creed. Her goals have been supported by many Auburn faculty and staff who have taught and mentored her. We are thrilled that she has been named a finalist and are pleased for her and her family that she may have the opportunity to add the Rhodes Scholar distinction to her list of impressive accomplishments.”

Pitts, a native of Birmingham, is an Honors College senior with a double major in English literature and Spanish and a minor in political science in the College of Liberal Arts. If selected, Pitts plans to pursue a master’s in world literatures at Oxford under the tutelage of Professor Ellke Boehmer, a former Rhodes Scholar, to study postcolonial literature with the goal of becoming a writer who aspires to abolish cultural barriers and forge global understanding.

Pitts has been involved in a number of campus and off-campus service projects. Among her more notable leadership and service achievements are her role on the Committee of 19, Auburn’s student chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger; participating in the Blessings in a Backpack school nutrition program; serving as a volunteer peer-mentor with the Office of Accessibility; and being a member of the Auburn Flyers Club Cycling Team. Pitts’ faculty advisor is James McKelly, associate professor in the Department of English.

“Inside and outside the classroom, Sarah stands with a select group of her peers,” said Paul Harris, associate director for national prestigious scholarships in the Honors College. “She is an engaging scholar, kind soul and wonderful writer. On top of her impressive grades, service and undergraduate research, Sarah remains actively engaged in community outreach where her passion for helping others is exceeded only by her humility.”

The 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 Rhodes Scholarship is one of the oldest international fellowships and are 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: Hugh Long, 1949; Ed Gentle, 1978; Susan Karamanian, 1981; and Jordan Anderson, 2009.