Ships may have been lost in the fog of the Bermuda Triangle, but this Bermudian was not lost in his quest for a Rhodes Scholarship.
The University is ringing in 1998 with the announcement of this academic year’s third Rhodes scholar, as Colm Singleton ’98 has claimed his colony’s only Rhodes prize.
Singleton, a history major specializing in imperialism and colonialism, plans to study law during his two or three years at Oxford University. He said he hopes to "use my law degree to work with emerging markets" and eventually settle down in his native islands. Singleton added that his civic involvement at home helped him win the Rhodes.
"A lot of (the reason I was chosen) is the work that I’ve done with Bermuda, with the politics of Bermuda, with the government," he said.
Assistant Dean of the College Nancy Kanach, who advises seniors on postgraduate fellowships, said Singleton’s achievement is "well-deserved," because he is "accomplished in a lot of different areas and in playing a role in Bermuda’s future."
Even as he prepares for the trip to Oxford, Singleton’s senior thesis and summer employment have already brought him to the corners of the globe. His thesis looks at US foreign policy in Zimbabwe in the 1960s, and Singleton worked for one summer at a law firm in Hong Kong. He also has written reports for the Bermudian government about redeveloping now-closed American military bases.
On campus, Singleton is involved in a number of activities and student organizations. He is a leader of the Annual Giving project of the Class of ’98, an Orange Key tour guide and a member of the International Students Associa-tion. He has also sailed and played intramural squash, and is a member of Ivy Club. Before college, Singleton attended a Connecticut boarding school and debated extensively.
Singleton was notified of his award in a Dec. 19 phone call.
"Yeah, I was pretty happy," he said of his reaction, "When the secretary (of Bermuda’s Rhodes committee) called me, he was totally serious and in a monotone. . . . Then, he said, ‘We’d like to appoint you for the scholarship.’ "
The call ended a rigorous application process. Even before classes began in September, Singleton had already submitted his application to the committee in Bermuda. In November, he was selected for an interview. He was then interviewed in Bermuda during winter break.
Rhodes scholarships are awarded differently to citizens of different countries. Each country is assigned a certain number of scholars, Singleton said, and each has its own application process. In the United States, 32 scholarships are awarded to four students from each of eight regions.
Though competition for the Rhodes is fierce worldwide, Singleton’s odds in a colony of some 58,000 people were a little better. Odds of winning the US awards are even longer — with 268 million people, there is one Rhodes scholar for every 8.4 million Americans.