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Two UT students have been named to the latest class of Schwarzman Scholars, a highly competitive program that offers selected students the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in China.

Colleen Ryan, who graduated in May 2017, and senior Lucille Greer are the second and third UT students selected for the program, which launched in 2015. Last year, Miranda Gottlieb, a May 2016 graduate, was UT’s first Schwarzman Scholar.

Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, the Schwarzman Scholars program is a one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The newly announced class of scholars will begin their studies in China in August 2018. Scholars are chosen because of their exemplary leadership qualities and their potential to bridge and understand cultural and political differences. They will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China.

“Colleen and Lucy navigated a remarkably competitive process and now, out of more than 4,000 applicants worldwide, have earned this extraordinary opportunity,” said Andrew Seidler, director of the UT Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships. “And to have two UT students among this year’s class of 142 Schwarzman Scholars is a real point of institutional pride.”

Colleen Ryan
Colleen Ryan

Ryan, 22, of Cookeville, is currently studying postwar recovery at the University of York in the United Kingdom on a Fulbright grant. She has conducted fieldwork in Uganda and Kosovo. A Haslam Scholar with majors in global studies and honors sociology, she wrote undergraduate theses examining prison reform in Uganda’s postconflict transition and exploring alternative justice mechanisms for sexual violence adjudication on US college campuses. She has been an advocate for preventing sexual violence and increasing access to sex education.

Lucy Greer
Lucy Greer

Greer, 21, of Knoxville, will graduate in spring 2018 with majors in political science and Middle Eastern studies. She cofounded and served as vice president of the Feminist Alliance, a student organization. As a Baker Scholar at UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, she researched American intervention policy in the Syrian civil war. She has interned with the US Department of State in Washington, DC, and Saudi Arabia and aspires to a career in diplomacy. She is currently studying intensive Arabic and regional politics in Amman, Jordan, as a 2017 Boren Scholar.

The newest group of Schwarzman Scholars represent 39 countries and 97 universities with 41 percent from the United States, 20 percent from China, and 39 percent from elsewhere.

The Schwarzman Scholars program was founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman, an American investor and private equity manager. He contributed more than $100 million to the program and is working to raise an additional $500 million to endow the program.


Andrew Seidler (, 865-974-3518) 

Amy Blakely (, 865-974-5034)