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W&L Alumni Receive Omicron Delta Kappa Scholarships Three Washington and Lee University graduates received scholarships from the National Leadership Honor Society to support graduate and professional study.

odk-alumni W&L Alumni Receive Omicron Delta Kappa ScholarshipsRossella Gabriele ’19, Tahrington Phillips ’23, James Torbert ’23

Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) recently announced the scholarship recipients for the 2023-24 academic year, including three alumni who are members of Washington and Lee University’s Alpha Circle. Each year, ODK awards scholarships and fellowships to more than 45 collegiate members who demonstrate exceptional academic performance and leadership abilities to continue their educations through graduate and professional study.

This year’s W&L recipients include:

“Our student leaders in ODK are an inspiring group who embody the highest ideals of our university through their manifold contributions to our campus and community,” said Matthew Loar, director of fellowships at W&L. “In Rossella, Tahri and James – two Rhodes Scholars and a former president of the Executive Committee – ODK is recognizing individuals who modeled exemplary leadership during their undergraduate careers, and we are excited to see how they will continue to uphold the values of ODK in graduate school and beyond.”

Gabriele received the John R. Alford Scholarship in Law, awarded to the top applicant who is an initiate of W&L’s Alpha Circle and attending law school. Gabriele majored in physics and global politics at W&L, where she served as president of the Alpha Circle and was a member of the campus chapter of Amnesty International. A Rhodes Scholar, Gabriele received her master’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics from the University of Oxford, where she wrote extensively on artificial intelligence (AI) ethics and served as the career team lead of the Oxford AI Society. At Yale Law School, she is the co-chair of the Student Representatives, the chapter director of the International Refugee Assistance Project and the first-generation college chair of the First-Generation Professionals.

Phillips received the Kenneth P. Ruscio Scholarship, awarded to the top applicant from the Alpha Circle and named after Kenneth Ruscio ’76, W&L president emeritus and ODK’s national president from 2002-2006. Phillips, who was a cognitive and behavioral science and English double major at W&L, is the university’s 18th Rhodes Scholar and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at the University of Oxford. On campus, Phillips served as the treasurer and public relations chair for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and captain of the varsity women’s basketball team. She received numerous awards as an undergraduate student, including the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given by the faculty to the individual who best demonstrates high ideals of living, spiritual qualities and generous service to others.

Torbert received one of twenty general ODK scholarships to support his graduate studies at the University of Virginia School of Law. A philosophy major at W&L, Torbert competed on the men’s tennis team and served as a University Ambassador in the Office of Admissions. He was elected president of the Executive Committee of the Student Body as a junior after serving as a sophomore class representative to the Executive Committee and was re-elected to a second term for his senior year. As president, he delivered a speech on behalf of the Class of 2023 at Commencement. In recognition of his involvement and leadership at W&L, James received the Madison Montgomery Shinaberry ’16 Outstanding Student Leadership Award and the Alexander Thomas Boehling ’10 Memorial Award.

Omicron Delta Kappa was founded in 1914 at W&L by 15 student and faculty leaders. The founders formulated the idea that leadership of exceptional quality and versatility in college should be recognized, that representatives in all phases of college life should cooperate in worthwhile endeavors, and that outstanding students, faculty and administrators should meet on the basis of mutual interest, understanding and helpfulness. Omicron Delta Kappa was the first college honor society of a national scope to honor meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities, and to encourage the development of general campus citizenship.

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