Centre College adds a third Fulbright Scholar
DANVILLE, KY - John Goodman of Mobile, Ala., a recent graduate of Centre College, has been chosen to become a Fulbright Scholar, giving the college three Fulbrights in its class of 2000. Goodman joins Kristel Clayville of Frankfort and Edmund Sauer of Bardstown as this year's honorees.
The seniors extend a Centre tradition that has produced 14 Fulbright Scholars in the last ten years. The college also has a current Rhodes Scholar, as well as Truman and Goldwater scholarship winners.
Goodman will receive a substantial stipend covering all costs for a year of advanced study abroad. He plans to spend his Fulbright year off the southeast coast of Africa, teaching English in Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean.
Clayville will use her scholarship for advanced archaeological study in Israel, while Sauer will study campaign finance reform in Canada. The Fulbright program, which is funded by the United States and other countries, is designed to promote mutual understanding of people from countries around the world.
For Goodman, the year in Africa will have an element of nostalgia. The year he was in second grade, he lived and attended school in Gabon, a French-speaking country in west Africa, where his father had a Fulbright award to teach at the local university.
Goodman is excited about the locale for his own Fulbright work. "As its name suggests, Réunion (or 'meeting' in French) offers an incredibly interesting mix of cultures," says Goodman, who majored in French and history at Centre. "On the island there are people of French, Muslim Indian, Hindu Indian, Chinese, and African descent, as well as Creoles (mixed peoples)."
His return to Africa is actually the result of two important awards. In addition to the Fulbright, he was one of four Centre students selected by the French government for a new program to teach English to French-speaking students.
Getting the combination of awards caused an adjustment in Goodman's plans. His Fulbright grant originally assigned him to Brittany. Between a term with Centre's program in Strasbourg and another in Besançon, however, he had spent a great deal of time in France by the end of his senior year. Goodman was interested in something different for his Fulbright. Fortunately, the French government -- sponsor of the Fulbright grant and the teaching awards -- allowed him to transfer his Fulbright to Africa.
Goodman was chosen for the Fulbright on the basis of his exceptional academic achievements (he won a valedictory prize at Centre) and wide-ranging accomplishments. He completed a 1998 summer internship at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where he had the chance to work with a former U.S. ambassador to India.
Looking to the future, Goodman is considering a wide range of career options but seems certain his future must include French, a language he loves. The year in Gabon gave him a useful ear for the accent, but he credits his Centre teachers for his current interest and facility.
"They really pushed us to speak French in class and out of class," he says. "Dr. Keffer, for example, will never speak English with you. Period. He makes French less of a foreign language and more of an everyday thing."
Despite the Centre valedictory prize, Goodman believes his greatest college achievement is his fluency in French. "When I came to Centre, I couldn't speak French at all," he says. "And when I left four years later I could. That's something very tangible that I can say I've learned. For me, that's really cool."
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Public information coordinator: Patsi Barnes Trollinger