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2014 Rhodes Scholar Lindsay LeeLindsay Lee, a senior studying math and Spanish, has been named a Rhodes Scholar, the most prestigious international award a student can earn.

Lee, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is one of thirty-two American students chosen from 857 endorsed by 327 colleges and universities. She is the seventh UT student to receive the honor in the Rhodes program’s 111-year history.

Lee will begin all-expenses-paid studies at the University of Oxford in England next fall. She plans to study statistics for applications in public health.

“I am incredibly humbled to be in the same shoes as some of the most important movers and shakers around the world,” Lee said. “It’s daunting to look back at all the Rhodes Scholars and see what they’ve accomplished and think that I could one day do what they did.”

Lee called the opportunity to earn a degree from Oxford “a rare and precious privilege.”

Lee is a Haslam Scholar—the university’s most prestigious scholarship. She also receives the Steve and Laura Morris Scholarship. She has studied abroad in Barcelona and Tokyo and conducted research at UT’s National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“I’m planning on studying statistics at Oxford and to later apply that knowledge in public health,” said Lee. “Besides giving me a top-tier education, this experience is going to allow me to interact with some of the most impactful change makers of the future.”

Lee said her UT experience has prepared her well for this next phase of her academic endeavors.

“I foresee that becoming close with my fellow Rhodes Scholars will be just as important to my academic and personal development as interacting with my fellow Haslam Scholars has been here at UT,” she said.

Lee was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age three. She founded and serves as president of Campus Disability Advocates, an organization that provides a voice to students, faculty, and staff with disabilities. She led the creation of UT’s Disability Week, which was held for the second time this fall.

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said the campus is abuzz with excitement for its new Rhodes Scholar.

“We are incredibly proud of Lindsay and so happy to claim her as a Volunteer. As a dedicated student and campus leader, she is most deserving of this prestigious award. We look forward to seeing the positive mark she is destined to make on our world,” Cheek said.

Lee is co-chair of the Academic Affairs Committee in the Student Government Association and president of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Sciences. She has been a columnist for The Daily Beacon and has served as a volunteer for a children’s hospital and for organizations serving the homeless.

Rhodes Scholarships pay all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford and sometimes allow four years of funding. The average value of the award is $50,000 per year.

Lee is proud to represent UT abroad next year. She noted that nine of the thirty-two Americans chosen attend public universities.

“I like to think that I am living proof of the value of a public education and that, with the proper support, students at the University of Tennessee can do absolutely anything students at a fancy private school can do.”

Lee was also a 2013 finalist for the Truman Scholarship, another prestigious national scholarship.

UT’s other Rhodes Scholars are:

  • Bernadotte Schmitt, 1905
  • Matthew G. Smith, 1911
  • Arthur Preston Whitaker, 1917
  • William E. Derryberry, 1928
  • Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, 1979
  • Jennifer Santoro Stanley, 1995

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The Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships assisted Lee with the application process. Created in 2007, the office informs students about scholarship opportunities and helps them through the highly competitive processes.

Michael Handelsman, who serves as the office’s faculty director, said Lee’s honor is a great accomplishment for UT and underscores the importance of having an office devoted to helping students win these prestigious awards.

“I congratulate Lindsay, and am thrilled that her success will draw attention to the fact that UT is serious about working with its students who aspire to excellence.”


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,