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Wofford names 21st Presidential International Scholar

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Neill Russell (Russ) Sandifer, a rising senior from Columbia, S.C., has been named today (May 10, 2005) as Wofford College’s 21st Presidential International Scholar, the college’s innovative scholarship that sends one student to developing countries for an academic year.

Sandifer’s selection was made by Wofford President Benjamin B. Dunlap and announced at today’s Spring Honors Convocation.

Sandifer, the son of Francis and Ann Sandifer of Columbia, recently was inducted into the Blue Key National Honor Society. He is a dean’s list student, a Benjamin Wofford Scholar and plays on Wofford's men's soccer team. He is a graduate of A.C. Flora High School in Columbia. He is a physics and French major.

As the Presidential International Scholar, Sandifer will develop the plan and itinerary for his independent project over the next few months, with the guidance of a faculty advisor; he will leave on his travels in the fall.

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.

During the Spring Honors Convocation, returning scholar Thomas Pierce of Spartanburg, S.C., was welcomed home. During his travels to such places as Papua New Guinea, India, Thailand, South Africa and Peru, he studied various communities that are meeting sustainable development challenges in creative and innovative ways, searching for those places that are “redefining the way we conceive of community.” He wrote that his trip would be “a self-reflective one – one that begs the question, what does it take to preserve the spirit of a community and its people.”