| Released: Dec. 5, 1999, 5 p.m.
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Centre College senior wins Rhodes Scholarship
DANVILLE, KY - Centre College senior, Michael Lanham of Gravel Switch, Ky., is one of 32 Americans named as Rhodes Scholars for the year 2000. At age 18, Lanham is the youngest recipient in this year's group of Rhodes Scholars and may be the youngest American recipient in the history of the program, which dates to 1902. The national Rhodes office says that Lanham is the youngest ever, based on currently available records, which go back about 30 years.
A graduate of Marion County High School, Lanham entered Centre at age 15 and quickly distinguished himself as an exceptional student in science and mathematics, as well as a gifted musician and actor. He was named a Trustee Scholar and made the dean's list while pursuing a rigorous curriculum in biology and mathematics.
Last year, Lanham was one of two juniors at Centre named to Phi Beta Kappa. He was chosen for a 1999 summer research position at Cornell University in biological mathematics and joined an advanced research team that used mathematical models to study how infections spread through populations. For his Rhodes project, Lanham proposed a study using this concept of mathematical models as a way of investigating AIDS. He will pursue that research while earning a doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University in England.
Lanham's singing and acting abilities have put him on the Centre stage in shows ranging from "Cabaret" to "A Dickens' Christmas." During 1998-99, he won first place in the junior men's division in state auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. He also plays French horn and piano.
Lanham spent the recent fall term studying in London as part of Centre's international study program. He returned early from the London semester to participate in the final round of selection interviews for Rhodes Scholars, held in Chicago.
Lanham is the son of H. Kevin and Jan Lanham of Gravel Switch. His father is a farmer and his mother teaches fine arts at Glasscock Elementary School in Marion County. Lanham, who graduated from high school early by skipping first, second and ninth grades, says that skipping grades in school has been the norm for his family. His mother, grandfather and two younger brothers, Ryan, 15, and Jonathan, 13, all have skipped grades in school.
Lanham became the seventh Rhodes Scholar from Centre. The latest was David Fowler in 1974, and the earliest was Winchester Stuart in 1908.
Founded in 1819, Centre is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the United States. Current enrollment is around 1,050 students, with representation from 38 states and seven foreign countries. The college maintains a 1 -11 faculty student ratio. The academic program has yielded 11 Fulbright Scholars in the last nine years, as well as a current Truman Scholar.
Centre students have access to residential study sites in England, France, and Latin America, making it possible for approximately 130 students to study abroad each year under the supervision of a Centre professor.
The quality of the Centre experience is affirmed by alumni, who have registered the highest rate of alumni giving in the nation for 13 of the last 15 years. Centre currently is ranked first in the nation in percentage of alumni giving, with a 65.2 percent giving rate for the 1998-99 fiscal year.
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