SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Recent Wofford College graduate Donovan Hicks has been selected as one of a dozen members of the 2018 Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars by the US-Ireland Alliance. He is Wofford’s first Mitchell Scholar.
The scholarship program, created nearly 20 years ago by Trina Vargo, founder of the US-Ireland Alliance, attracted 323 applicants for the 12 scholarships named in honor of the former Maine senator’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service. They will spend a year of post-graduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.
“Over the past three years, Wofford has produced a Rhodes Scholar and a Rhodes Finalist, a Truman Scholar, a Goldwater Scholar and a Goldwater Finalist, a Princeton in Asia Fellow, a Boren Scholar, two Critical Language Scholars and five Fulbright Fellows,” says Wofford President Nayef Samhat. “These prestigious national scholarships make us proud, but more importantly, they're an indication that Wofford College graduates are ready for life after graduation and are competitive for the top postgraduate honors in the country.”
“Studying race could never be more timely, especially in a country famous for its ethno-racial conflicts and peace negotiations,” Hicks says. “It is not an easy choice, but it is a purposed and necessary choice.
“I am proud to represent Wofford, and think of this as more of a win for Wofford and its community than myself,” he continues. “I hope more students will have the courage to apply for the prestigious fellowships that suit their needs, such as Fulbright, Marshall, Mitchell, Gates Cambridge and Rhodes. I find that Wofford students can exist right beside the students of Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities of the world and shine.”
Hicks graduated from Wofford in May of this year with degrees in government and finance. A Spartanburg, S.C., native, as a first-year student he began a long-term internship with South Carolina Legal Services, providing legal assistance to people well below the poverty line. In 2014, he created Student-to-Student, a mentoring organization that partners potential first-year college students from Boiling Springs High School in Spartanburg County, his alma mater, with Wofford students. Hicks also served as Campus Union vice president and as a student advocate on Wofford’s Judicial Commission. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar, a Bonner Scholar and a Truman Scholar.
Hicks recently completed a research stay at the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality. An aspiring civil rights attorney, he is a federal analyst at Deloitte.
As a Mitchell Scholar, Hicks will study race, ethnicity and conflict at Trinity College Dublin beginning in September 2017.
“While it’s not surprising that the Mitchell Scholarship Program recognizes Donovan’s merit, I’m excited that he will have this unique opportunity,” says Dr. John Ware, chairman of Wofford’s Post-Graduate Scholarships Committee. “Winning the Mitchell Scholarship is testimony to Donovan’s intellect, vision and effort. He made innumerable contributions to the Wofford community while he was here, and I look forward to hearing about his future endeavors and success.”
Ramon Galinanes, coordinator of Wofford’s Bonner Scholars program, who worked with Hicks on applying for the Mitchell Scholarship, adds, “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Donovan. He is one of the best students I have had an opportunity to work with during my 10 years of teaching experience. Donovan bears all the hallmarks of a young scholar, public servant and leader. As such, he will make an excellent addition to the Mitchell Scholarship Program.”