College Senior Will Take Rhodes to Oxford

This November, Columbia College senior Raphael Graybill faced an enviable dilemma: Take the Marshall Scholarship he was offered on the 18th, or reject it and take the Rhodes offered to him three days later.

Either way, he knew he would be going to Oxford University on a full scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in politics, focusing on the media’s influence on politics and civic engagement.

Graybill, a political science major, chose the Rhodes award, he says, partly because the Marshall Scholarship would go to another recipient if he declined it; the Rhodes has no such process. “This way, someone else gets to go in my place,” he says.

A native of Great Falls, Montana, Graybill already has an impressive résumé: In 2008, he was the youngest member of Montana’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention and last summer he worked on health-care issues at the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s majority staff office. Graybill has also served as statewide field coordinator for an attorney general campaign. In addition, he is involved with the Lutheran World Relief foundation as a member of its President’s Council.

Graybill is captain of Columbia’s ski and snowboarding team and is an auxiliary police officer with the New York Police Department’s 26th Precinct. Once a week, he patrols Upper Manhattan.

“Raphael is a terrific leader, as well as a great student,” said Michael Pippenger, associate dean of fellowship programs at Columbia College. “That he was awarded both the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships is quite a feat and it speaks to the ways people recognize his commitment to public service and his potential for a very bright future.”