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Mississippian named Rhodes scholar

Photo courtesy of Millsaps College.

Noah Barbieri, a senior at Millsaps College, has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

A native of Belden, Mississippi, Barbieri is majoring in economics, mathematics, and philosophy. He has already been selected as one of 62 Truman Scholars nationwide back in April of 2017.

Barbieri is scheduled to graduate from Millsaps in May 2018.

He is the second Millsaps student in the past three years to be named a Rhodes Scholar, and the seventh in the history of the College.

Since 2013, only 19 schools across the United States have had at least two Rhodes Scholars and at least one Truman Scholar.

“I am absolutely shocked,” said Barbieri. “It has been my dream to be a Rhodes Scholar since my senior year of high school. Even though I have been working towards it for a long time, I cannot believe it actually happened. I have big dreams of making a difference in the world. I know this scholarship can help me do just that, and I am hoping to make the most out of this opportunity.”

Noah plans on using his Rhodes Scholarship to pursue a Masters in Economics at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, where he plans on researching how to best address inequality.

He said that he then plans on receiving a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard using his Truman Scholarship before entering public service. However, he said that he ultimately wants to work in Mississippi and address the problems the state faces.

“Noah embodies the best of a liberal arts education and, by extension, the virtues for which Rhodes Scholars are known,” said Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps College. “His three majors (philosophy, economics, and mathematics) span the three divisions of Millsaps (Arts & Humanities, Business, and Natural and Social Sciences), and Noah has employed each with great facility to better understand, and address, practical challenges facing his native state of Mississippi.”

The Rhodes Scholarship is considered to be one of the most prestigious academic scholarships in the world, and each year approximately 95 students are awarded them worldwide, including 32 students from the United States and its territories.

The scholarship provides full funding for graduate-level studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

“Noah’s persistence in the pursuit of excellence is truly extraordinary, and part of the reason he has excelled in every facet of his life is that he simply works harder than just about any undergraduate I have ever encountered,” said Kenneth Townsend, executive director of the Millsaps Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement. “The education and habits Noah has cultivated at Millsaps will serve him well during his upcoming graduate studies in the UK and beyond.”

Townsend, a 2004 graduate of Millsaps, was named a Truman Scholar and Rhodes Scholar while a student at the College. In addition to his duties with the Institute, he currently chairs the Fellowships Committee at Millsaps.

“This is such an honor, and I would like to thank my family, friends, and professors for the constant support,” said Barbieri. “I would like to especially thank Kenneth Townsend. I will never forget when Professor Townsend called me in high school and told me that he thought I would have a good shot at being a Truman and Rhodes Scholar if I came to Millsaps. Man, was he right. He took me under his wing and walked me through the process from day one.”

Barbieri said he has tried to make the most of his time aatMillsaps, serving as a Student Body Senator, Student Body Treasurer, and Student Body President, and he was elected by his fellow students as Student Body Leader of the Year.

Barbieri has completed two honors projects, one in economics and one in philosophy. He is also involved in several academic honorary societies, including Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honorary (current president); Phi Eta Sigma freshman honorary (past president); Sigma Lambda service honorary (past treasurer); Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary; Eta Sigma Phi classics honorary; and Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honorary.

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