Senior is UD's 11th Rhodes Scholar
by Ed Okonowicz
David A. Kovara, who will graduate from the University of Delaware in May with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's degree in liberal studies, has been named a Rhodes Scholar, making him the fourth UD student to be so honored in the last 10 years, and the 11th Rhodes Scholar from UD since the program began.
Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international study awards available to American students, were established in 1902 by the estate of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist. The scholarships provide two or three years of study at Oxford University in England. Kovara intends to do graduate work in Christian ethics at Oxford and take a summer course in international human rights law.
On Dec. 9, the scholarship trust announced 32 winners for 2002, selected from 925 applicants throughout the nation. Winners are selected on the basis of such qualities as high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among others.
Other winners this year included students at Carnegie-Mellon, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Syracuse and Yale universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. Naval Academy and West Point.
Since learning of his honor, Kovara said he has been busy telling the many individuals who supported him throughout the interview process. "I received support and advice from more than a dozen people, and it's been important to me to contact them, let them know the outcome and thank them for the encouragement they offered me right up to the end," he said.
"The University has a support network that is very strong, with people who show a genuine interest in helping students, informing them of opportunities and then helping them make the most of them," he said. "That has made a world of difference."
Kovara is no stranger to national honors. In March, he was one of 70 students from across the nation selected for the prestigious Truman Scholarship, which provided him with $3,000 for his senior year of college and $27,000 to apply toward graduate school. Truman Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions and have access to special internships within the federal government.
During his years at UD, he also has lived in a monastery in Greece, studied theology in Germany and conducted volunteer work in Kenya and Uganda, working to establish organizations to prevent child abuse.
Last summer, Kovara traveled to southern India, where he worked for an orphanage and medical clinic in a village outside Madras.
After Oxford, he said he most likely will consider a full-fledged law program in the U.S., using his Truman Scholarship.
A former UD soccer player who lives with his sister and works at the Eagle Diner in Newark, Kovara said he considers Lawrence Duggan, UD professor of history, and his wife, Devon Miller Duggan, an adjunct professor in the Honors Program, as mentors and friends.
"The problem with trying to say something about David is that there is so much to say," Miller Duggan said. "Essentially, he's kind of radiant. He has an unusual combination of intellect and spirit. There's a sort of lightness to David. He has a wonderful combinationa really profound seriousness and great whimsy. It's very easy to see him changing the world."
UD's Rhodes Scholars
By becoming UD's 11th Rhodes Scholar, David A. Kovara continues a long line of academic excellence for which the University is noted.
UD Rhodes Scholars include:
The University of Delaware has had the most recipients of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship (three) of any public college or university nationally in the last five years. The private institutions tied with UDwith three Rhodes Scholar recipients in those five yearsare Brown, Stanford and Washington universities and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. The only private institutions with more than three Rhodes Scholarship recipients in the past five years are Duke, Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities, the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.