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Spartanburg student named Presidential International Scholar

Tyler Swain_rice
2010-05-11

Students recognized at annual Honors Day Convocation

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College President Benjamin B. Dunlap has selected Tyler Swain, a rising senior from Spartanburg, as the 2010-11 Presidential International Scholar. This is the 26th year for the college’s innovative program that allows one student to travel throughout the academic year to developing countries researching an independent project.

The announcement was made today (Tuesday, May 11, 2010) at the annual spring Honors Convocation, held in Leonard Auditorium. Departmental awards and other special recognitions also were made during the event to honor 2010 graduates, who will receive their diplomas on Sunday, May 23, in a ceremony on the lawn of Main Building. Swain is the 27th scholar, as two scholars were named in 2007. (A full list of honorees is available in the Wofford Newsroom.)

The Presidential International Scholar is chosen personally each year by Wofford’s president as “the singular student best fitted to benefit humankind.” An anonymous donor funds the scholarship. The scholar spends his or her senior year visiting developing countries around the world and conducting research on an independent study project, returning for a fifth year to complete regular coursework and sharing what was learned during the travels.

“Wofford has so many impressive students that the choice gets harder and harder every year,” Dunlap says, “but Tyler is extraordinarily bright, gifted and intrepid, a combination that made him an easy choice as the 2010-2011 Presidential International Scholar.”

Swain, a graduate of Paul M. Dorman High School, is the son of Noel and Wanda Swain of Spartanburg.

He was unable to attend the convocation announcing his selection, as he is continuing his study abroad program this semester in Madagascar.

Swain’s experience at Wofford has included a variety of study abroad experiences. As a first-year student, he traveled and video-blogged from his Interim project in Arles, France. He documented the language and culture learning of the Wofford group in France and allowed Wofford students in Spartanburg and around the world to “live vicariously as this group interacted with French home-stay families, teachers and French students,” says Dr. Ana Maria Wiseman, dean of international programs at Wofford.

“His creativity and originality caught the eye of Dr. Dunlap,” she adds. “He has a talent in the visual arts and an ability to focus on what is interesting. He has a quick wit and sense of humor and insatiable curiosity. He has the potential to make a great impact on Wofford with this opportunity to serve as the Presidential International Scholar.”

Swain, who is majoring in international studies for business in French, spent the fall 2009 semester doing research and presenting information about Madagascar in his French class, which has served him well as he is currently participating in the School for International Training program on National Identity and Social Change in Antananarivo. He is completing the research on his independent study project on religious diversity in Malagasy culture and its impact on politics and society. (Read his blog.)

He also has traveled to Nicaragua, Europe and the Caribbean, and during his sophomore year, he was a fellow with Wofford’s Community of Scholars research program, engaging in a service learning project in Guatemala.

Swain is part of the Success Initiative at Wofford, a scholarship-supported, projects-based, student-led learning community that is grounded in the liberal arts.

He has served as a student videographer for the Office of Communications and Marketing at Wofford and has worked on local political campaign videos and other professional projects.

MEDIA: For a high-resolution (300 dpi) photo of Tyler Swain, click on the thumbnail below, then right-click and save to your computer. Please contact Laura Corbin at laura.corbin@wofford.edu if you have problems with the file. 

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