The Columns

Hansen Babington ’09 Wins Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship

— by on October 30th, 2008

Washington and Lee University senior Hansen Babington ’09 of Mobile, Ala., has been awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to attend either La Universidad Complutense de Madrid, a large public university in Madrid, Spain, or La Universidad Torcuato di Tella, a private school in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Babington will be abroad for either 10 or 12 months, depending on the school to which he’s assigned. He’ll be told which school that will be in December or January.

The Rotary Ambassadorial Program aims to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.

“I am thrilled to have won the Rotary scholarship,” said Babington. “It will give me the resources to build off of my studies at W&L and begin studying international journalism. I hope to use my studies to start a career that will allow me to pursue my love of language and contribute to the intercultural exchange of ideas.”

Babington will attend a Rotary seminar to orient him as to his responsibilities to his host and sponsor Rotary clubs during his time as an Ambassadorial scholar, as well to prepare him for the writing and presentation of the 18 speeches he’ll be required to make to Rotary clubs in his host country. The wrap-up speech to his home sponsor Rotary Club, in Mobile, Ala., will be after his fellowship is over.

Babington never imagined he’d be studying journalism in Spanish but his language background at W&L will help him. “Professor Ellen Mayock urged me to look at pursuing a scholarship in the first place,” said Babington. “She gave me invaluable help and advice on the Spanish language portion of my application – in fact, she was the one who sparked an interest in me about studying the Spanish language.”

“I would say that Hansen has just the qualities that will make him a fine Rotary ambassador in either Spain or Argentina,” said Ellen Mayock, associate professor of Spanish at W&L. “As a Spanish and English major he has fine-tuned his reading and writing skills in both languages. He loves the Spanish language, has a keen ability to read and write in the language and to capture nuance of the written word, and is zealous about working with both English and Spanish in the community.”

Mayock continued, “I am delighted that Hansen will be able to use the many skills and the extensive knowledge he has gained at W&L when he travels abroad next year with Rotary,”

At W&L, Babington volunteers for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and is a member and treasurer of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He has played on the Rugby team for four years, serving as captain this year, is a member of the Cycling Club and participates in triathlons.