Students studying outside the library
Woodlee's achievement is one for the books

Former Mauldin volleyball star becomes a Rhodes Scholar 


Rachel Woodlee (6) was a four-year starter on the Wofford College volleyball team and finished her career with more than 900 kills.

By Ann Greene
The Greenville News
Published December 4, 2012 

When she was playing volleyball for four years at Mauldin High, Rachel Woodlee knew the importance of a healthy blend of athletics and academics.

But it’s only in hindsight that she realizes that the combination eventually would help her win one of the world’s top scholarships

Woodlee, a senior at Wofford College, is one of 32 students in the United States selected as Rhodes Scholars. Starting next fall, she’ll spend two years in Oxford, England, where she’ll concentrate on Chinese studies.

“There’s nothing that can compare to the Rhodes,” Woodlee said when asked where the scholarship ranks among her previous achievements.

“To be honest, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I won. There’s an element of the surreal about it. But it’s definitely foremost among everything I’ve ever accomplished.”

The Rhodes program seeks out future world leaders who’ve proven themselves not only in the classroom but also in sports.

Woodlee, a volleyball player for the Terriers, has a Phi Beta Kappa key and extensive world travel experience thanks to Wofford’s study abroad programs.

She is the sixth Wofford student to win a Rhodes but the first woman from the Spartanburg college.

“I love playing volleyball, and Wofford was a place where I could do that and pursue all my academic interests,” she said.

Some students spend years preparing themselves to apply for the Rhodes.

“When it came down to it, I realized I had a pretty decent chance,” Woodlee said. “But it was more Wofford helped me make my experience here valuable. It wasn’t premeditated, but it was a dream of mine.”