Medical doctor, David Walcott, is this year’s recipient of the highly acclaimed Rhodes scholarship award.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, made the announcement at a ceremony at Kings House, Thursday November 18. He noted that the selection committee had difficulty choosing the winner from among “very strong candidates.”
He commended the contestants’ preparation for the selection process, and the way in which they delivered and accounted for themselves. He added that the committee was “profoundly satisfied” with their performance.
Dr. Walcott, a doctor at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), was selected from a field of eight candidates, comprising five males and three females. The former Campion College student and graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI), will go on to Oxford University in the United Kingdom where he intends to pursue studies in neurosurgery (a medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the nervous system).
He said he was “extremely honoured” to be chosen as the 2011 Rhodes Scholar for Jamaica, and thanked his family and teachers for ‘moulding” him over the years, and giving him “a sense of empowerment.”
Rhodes Scholar for 2011, Dr. David Walcott (left), poses with fellow candidates Luke Foster (right) and Kamille Adair, during a ceremony Thursday November 18 at King’s House, Kingston. Mr. Foster and Miss Adair will go to Barbados to compete for the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship.
The Governor-General also announced that because of the high quality of the candidates, at the recommendation of the Warden of Rhodes House and the selection committee, two other candidates, Luke Foster and Kamille Adair, will go to Barbados to compete for the Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship.
Foster is a medical doctor at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James and Adair is in her final year at the Norman Manley Law School.
Secretary of the Jamaica Rhodes Selection Committee, Peter Goldson, said committee members were “delighted” to conduct the interviews.
“We enjoyed the interviews thoroughly…We look forward to hearing great things from Dr. Walcott, and we wish Mr. Foster and Miss Adair all the best in Barbados,” he said.
Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford, Dr. Donald Markwell, said there is no doubt that Dr. Walcott will “hold his own” in the “demanding” environment at Oxford, and uphold the standards of Jamaican Rhode Scholars. He noted that the calibre of Jamaican Rhodes Scholars is normally extraordinarily high. There are currently three Jamaican Rhodes Scholars at Oxford, all of whom are doing “extremely well.”
Dr. Walcott has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree (MB BS) from the UWI. He has four Cambridge A-Level subjects at Grade A – Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics; two Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subjects – Communication Studies and Caribbean Studies – both Grade 1; and 10 Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) subjects all at Grade 1.
He has also received awards including CSEC prizes for Top Performer in information technology- 2003 and for third place in physics – 2003; the Jamaica Open Independence Scholarship; UWI Matriculant 2005- in recognition of the most qualified candidate entering UWI in 2005; Certificate of Award for Placement on Dean’s List – in recognition of Excellent Academic performance in MB BS Year three (2007/200 ) and MB BS Year four ( 2008/2009 ); and UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences Honour Society Award 2008 and 2009.
He also received the Overall Clinical Medal and the Medical Subject Medal in recognition of his outstanding performance in the Caribbean in MB BS Examination 2010; the Aubrey McFarlane Medal – in recognition of the candidate in the most outstanding performance in the Mona Campus, UWI in Surgery in MB BS Examination 2010; and the Dr. Hon. John Hall Prize.
He is a member of Christian Living Community, which promotes Christian morals and service to the less fortunate. He is also a member of Jamaica Medical Students Association, and treasurer of the Standing Committee on Reproductive Health including AIDS (SCORA).
The other candidates who vied for the scholarship this year were: Vincent Taylor, a final year student at UWI, Mona; Ricardo Allen, third year student at UWI, Mona; Leanne Welds, graduate of Pomona College, United States; Glaister Leslie, graduate of the Wesleyan University in the United States; and Ren