Another Rhodes Scholar for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba

The Faculty of Engineering is pleased to announce that Civil Engineering student, Mark Hearson, is the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship for 2012. The University of Manitoba is one of the leading institutions in Canada for numbers of Rhodes Scholars, and continues to be the alma mater for more Rhodes Scholars than any other university in western Canada. As for the Faculty of Engineering, this is our third Rhodes Scholar in six years!

Hearson is the 96th University of Manitoba student to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, the tenth U of M Rhodes Scholar in as many years. The University of Manitoba continues to attract and nurture students who are among the world’s best and brightest. Rhodes Scholarships are the most prestigious awards of their kind in Canada.

Three Rhodes Scholarships were awarded this year in the Prairies, across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Hearson is the only Rhodes Scholarship recipient from Manitoba; the two others are a student from Saskatchewan and a medical student from Harvard, formerly from Alberta.

“I congratulate Mark for this remarkable achievement,” said president and vice-chancellor David Barnard. “I am also proud our faculty and staff have created a climate of academic excellence and global citizenship that continues to inspire the next generation of visionaries, explorers and trailblazers.”

Hearson, in his fifth year of a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, describes himself as a recognized leader, public speaker and activist. He has received awards for his leadership in both student and community endeavours, his outstanding academic record and his undergraduate research.

Hearson’s academic interests have concentrated on his passion to devise “global, innovative solutions” to problems in effectively transporting people and goods around the world. He says his passion for transportation began through a childhood fascination with LEGO, with which he spent “countless hours constructing cities, skylines and networks.”

Among his list of activities in community involvement, Hearson has been organizing a campaign through local churches to bring food and other resources to grandmothers of orphaned children in Africa through the Stephen Lewis Foundation. He has also been active in student government in the Faculty of Engineering, including charity events and fundraising for student programs. A graduate of Westwood Collegiate, Hearson had been student council president there as well.

Hearson notes: “It’s quite humbling to be in the company of so many who have gone on to great achievement. This is an amazing opportunity to study at such a prestigious university.”

The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding all-round students at the University of Oxford, providing transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals. 

Established in 1903 through British-born entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international graduate scholarship program in the world, first awarded in Canada in 1904. A class of 83 Scholars is selected each year from countries around the world, from Australia to Zimbabwe.

Rhodes’s vision in founding the Scholarship was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to fight “the world’s fight,” to “esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim” and to promote international understanding and peace. Of the more than 7,000 Rhodes Scholars to date, many have gone on to serve at the forefront of government, the professions, commerce, the arts, education and research. Many are advocates for expanded social justice and others have advanced the frontiers of science and medicine.

Canadian Rhodes alumni include: former mayor of Winnipeg William Norrie; former Prime Minister John Turner; Danny Williams, former Premier of Newfoundland; and Bob Rae, Liberal MP and former Foreign Affairs critic. Other well-known Rhodes Scholars include President Bill Clinton, astronomer Edwin Hubble, NBA Hall of Famer and Senator Bill Bradley and ABC political correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

A Rhodes Scholarship covers all University and College fees, a personal stipend and one economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the Scholarship, as well as an economy flight back to the student’s home country at the conclusion of the Scholarship.