Willie Thompson ’16 Receives Prestigious Schwarzman Scholars Program Recognition

Date Released: December 13, 2017

Willie Thompson ’16 Receives Prestigious Schwarzman Scholars Program Recognition


Morehouse College alumnus Willie Thompson ’16 will be studying in China next year as a Schwarzman Scholar, a prestigious recognition that gives the world’s best and brightest an opportunity to get a first-hand, in-depth understanding of China that will be critically important in the 21st century.

Thompson joins 142 Schwarzman Scholars from 39 countries and 97 universities worldwide chosen to study in the master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China beginning in August 2018. More than 4,000 scholars applied to participate in the third class of the Schwarzman Scholars program.

“I feel great about this honor,” Thompson said. “This is a testament to the power of the Morehouse experience. I credit a lot of the success in my interview to the multifaceted education that I received while I was a student, specifically in economics, communications, and in international studies.”

Thompson, a native of Griffin, Ga., majored in economics and minored in Chinese Studies while at Morehouse. He was part of a trio of students to make history as valedictorians of the Class of 2016 at the 132nd Commencement ceremony. It was the first time Morehouse had three valedictorians.

After graduation, Thomas spent 11 months teaching English in Taichung, Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar before going to work for Boston’s The Bridgespan Group as an associate consultant.

Thompson is eager to return to Asia to continue his international studies as a Schwarzman Scholar. He said this is his second time applying to for the Schwarzman program, and his persistence paid off. “You have to stay focused on your goal,” he said. “I appreciate the support of my family at home and at Morehouse College who prepared me for this opportunity.”

Thompson is interested in learning how intercultural education can promote understanding and improve communications in schools. He plans to eventually pursue his doctorate in education, work at an institution that allows him to be a practitioner of intercultural education, and later develop an international arts school.

Harold L. Martin Jr., Interim President of Morehouse College, said he congratulates Thompson on his national recognition.

 “Willie Thompson is an impressive scholar who took advantage of the opportunities on campus to challenge himself academically and broaden his horizons as a global citizen,” Martin Jr. said. “I am proud of his accomplishments at Morehouse and his recognition as a Schwarzman Scholar. He is dedicated to excellence, and I believe that he will achieve great success in his endeavors.”

Students chosen as Schwarzman Scholars have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities and the potential to bridge and understand cultural and political differences. Beyond the classroom, Schwarzman Scholars gain unrivaled exposure to China and a broader network of important relationships through prestigious internships, mentorship opportunities, distinguished speakers, and extensive travel throughout China aligned with students’ academic concentrations and professional interests.

Scholars are also provided with career services support, giving them access to the best career opportunities and a global network, both in Beijing and after graduation.

“It has been incredible to see the program expand to 13 new countries and 51 new universities in the Class of 2019,” said program founder Stephen A. Schwarzman. “Meeting these people from all over the world, who at such a young age have already started to make an impact in their respective fields, has been truly inspiring.”

The Schwarzman Scholars program was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace. Schwarzman, co-founder of the private equity firm The Blackstone Group, personally contributed over $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $500 million from others to endow the program in perpetuity. The endowment will support the education of up to 200 Schwarzman Scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world. The program is in its third year.

For more information, visit www.schwarzmanscholars.org.

Last Modified: December 13, 2017, 12:12 PM, by: Kara Walker

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