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Breaking down the past decade of Princeton’s Rhodes Scholars

stone building with tall windows on an overcast day with yellow leaves
McCosh Hall in the fall.
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

On Sunday, Sam Harshbarger ’24 received a Rhodes Scholarship. The history concentrator’s achievement marks the 24th consecutive year a Princeton student has received the honor. In the past decade, there has been an average of two Rhodes Scholars from Princeton annually, with 2015 and 2018 having four winners each. 

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious international scholarships awarded annually for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Rhodes Scholars, as the recipients are known, come from more than 70 countries around the world. The scholarship is awarded annually to 32 U.S. recipients, with the application pool this cycle consisting of 862 applicants. 217 Rhodes Scholars have studied at Princeton since 1907. 


Among all domestic universities, Princeton University ranks third in terms of number of Rhodes Scholars produced since 1904, falling behind peer Ivy League institutions Harvard and Yale.

Notably, Harvard had nine American Rhodes scholars this year, the only school with more than two American scholars. Harvard also had seven winners worldwide last year, significantly outpacing Princeton’s haul.

In the last decade, 23 Princetonians have received a Rhodes Scholarship. From New Jersey to Pakistan, these students and alumni come from many places across the world. Six Rhodes Scholars were part of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, a group of juniors and seniors who are committed to the study of humanistic inquiry, and nine were either Residential College Advisors or Peer Academic Advisors.

60 percent of these 23 Rhodes Scholars were in eating clubs, with four being in Terrace, including Harshbarger. Tower and Cap and Gown had three Rhodes Scholars each. Cottage, Colonial, Cloister, and Charter all had no Rhodes Scholars in the past decade.


Over the last ten years, Forbes and Mathey College saw the most Rhodes Scholars out of all the residential colleges, with six students each. Harshbarger, the 2023 Princeton Rhodes Scholar, is from Forbes College.

In the last 10 years, Princeton Rhodes Scholars have hailed from various departments, but notably no recipients graduated with a degree in engineering. Four Rhodes Scholars, including Harshbarger, concentrated in history, the most Rhodes Scholars in any individual discipline in the past ten years.

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57 percent of Princeton Rhodes Scholars in the past decade won a Princeton award at some point in their academic career. Among all of the awards won, the most frequently awarded to Rhodes Scholars were the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence and Phi Beta Kappa. Harshbarger won a Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in September 2022, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement by Princeton first-years or sophomores. Phi Beta Kappa is a national honorary scholastic society to which Princeton seniors are elected based on their scholastic achievement.

Harshbarger told the University that after his time at Oxford he plans to continue his research on Turkey in Istanbul.

Mary Ma is a contributing Data writer for the ‘Prince.’

Please send corrections to corrections[at]

Correction: This piece previously stated that Harvard was the only school to have more than two Rhodes Scholars this year. It has been updated to clarify that it is the only school to have more than two American Rhodes Scholars this year. The ‘Prince’ regrets this error.