Rhodes Scholar finalists

Two UR students named Rhodes finalists

December 1, 2020

University News

Rhodes Scholars are chosen for their outstanding scholarly achievements as well as their character, commitment to others and the common good, and potential for leadership in their career pursuits. This year, UR had two finalists: Seniors Alec Greven, from Castle Rock, Colorado, and Kexin Li, from Chongqing, China.

Greven applied through the American competition and Li through the Chinese program.

Greven, who is double majoring in leadership studies and politics, philosophy, economics, and law, plans to pursue a career in law rooted in philosophy.

“I realize that if I wanted to effectively serve others in the legal system then I need a philosophical foundation,” said Greven. “Good attorneys recognize that justice in the real world doesn’t operate in black and white and instead presents itself in varying and subtle shades of gray.”

Greven aspires to be a federal judge or district attorney and plans to pursue advanced degrees in philosophy and law.

During his time at UR, Greven has worked closely with Jessica Flanigan, a professor in leadership studies and PPEL, to develop grant-supported research to advance free speech on college campuses.

“Alec stands out for his intellectual curiosity and courage,” Flanigan said. “His work is both deeply engaged with complex philosophical questions and motivated by a sincere desire to improve his community.”

Li is double majoring in leadership studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies and plans to pursue graduate degrees in women’s studies and public policy. She is particularly interested in researching and pursuing a career that would seek solutions to combat gender violence in East Asia.

“I want to help establish guidelines for Chinese feminists, like myself, to interact with global leaders who will fight the world’s fight with me,” Li said. “My ultimate career goal is to go home and establish a platform that connects different social movements and redefines Chinese feminism’s future.”

“Kexin is a person deeply committed to social justice issues,” said political science professor Monti Datta, one of Li’s faculty mentors. “I am impressed with her intellectual rigor, commitment to social justice, passion for the creative arts, and desire to help uplift and at the same time learn from vulnerable populations such as survivors of human trafficking.”

“To be selected as a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship is a huge honor,” said Dana Kuchem, director of UR’s Office of Scholars and Fellowships. “Alec will no doubt continue to make an impact on campus and beyond as a leader and change-maker, and Kexin’s efforts to empower women both in China and on our own campus is inspiring.”

Both Greven and Li are Richmond scholars, the University’s most prestigious academic award program.

“I am continually impressed by our students’ curiosity in their areas of study and their commitment to leaving the world a better place than they found it,” said University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher. “We are so proud of Alec and Kexin for their leadership not only on our campus but in their communities.”