“Classroom learning comes to life
through research initiatives,
service initiatives, and internship
and fellowship opportunities.”
— Dr. William E. Troutt
Dr. William E. “Bill” Troutt will be remembered for many things—his hands-on approach, his connection to students, his bow ties—but perhaps most significantly, he is the president who dramatically increased student opportunities by fostering a partnership with the Memphis community.
Rhodes’ success rests on three foundations, according to Troutt: being the best in classroom, the best on campus, and the best beyond the gates. And because the first two foundations are strong, students are able to have truly meaningful experiences outside the gates.
“Classroom learning comes to life through research initiatives, service initiatives, and internship and fellowship opportunities,” he says.
Troutt realized early on that a deep pool of resources was on the college’s doorstep, and he began to cultivate long-lasting relationships with Memphis businesses and other community organizations. Today these “beyond-the-gates initiatives” separate Rhodes from other liberal arts colleges.
The Rhodes Fellowships, established during Troutt’s tenure, seek to expand students’ horizons by allowing for real-world experience. A prime example is the Rhodes St. Jude Summer Plus fellowship, a unique collaboration between the school and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, begun in 2001. For two summers and the intervening academic year, qualified students work on research projects with St. Jude scientists, attend lectures, and participate in meetings and onsite discussions.
“Can you imagine graduating from an undergraduate college and having been cited as a co-author for a major scientific article? It rarely happens anywhere else,” says Troutt.
Rhodes has benefited from being in proximity to other world-class facilities. Other parternships include Rhodes/UT Neuroscience Fellowship, the InMotion Musculoskeletal Institute Research Fellowship, and the Rhodes/Memphis Zoo Partnership.
“Memphis loves Rhodes students and the students have uncommon opportunities because of it,” Troutt says. “Our initiatives take us all around the world, but we are especially blessed with the opportunities in Memphis that give students a chance to develop their dreams and have really amazing learning experiences.”
Other fellowships established during Troutt’s tenure take advantage of the rich cultural heritage of the area, such as the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, an immersive eight-week summer research program. Still others build on the third Strategic Imperative for student engagement by offering options for community outreach and advocacy.
The nine-week Summer Service Fellowship offers students the chance to tackle an intensive community service project.
Fellowships are just the beginning. Under Troutt’s auspices, other new learning opportunities, such as increased internships and study abroad opportunities bring the classroom to life in memorable ways and enhance the liberal arts experience. “It has been a joy to watch as students have been inspired, gained confidence, and earned credentials,” says Troutt.
The availability and variety of internships have grown over the past 18 years. Today, 75 percent of Rhodes students participate in internships each year, working with the best Memphis has to offer in the fields of business, finance, government, the arts, health care, and nonprofit. The list of outstanding Memphis mentors is long—too long, in fact, to list here! A partial list of businesses and organizations that have opened the door for Rhodes students to explore their passions and hone their skills includes:
Action News 5
Baptist Memorial Hospital
Boys & Girls Clubs
Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce
Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center
Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South
Memphis City Council
Memphis Child Advocacy Center
Memphis Office of the Mayor
Memphis & Shelby County Film Commission
Memphis & Shelby County Office of Economic Development
Memphis Symphony Orchestra
Overton Park Conservancy
Shelby County Mayor’s Office
Shelby County Public Defender’s Office
STAX Museum of American Soul Music
Urban Child Institute
Women’s Foundation for Greater Memphis
During the past 18 years, students have completed internships across the country and even overseas as well—in France, Croatia, Cambodia, and China, to name just a few.
Fellowships take students beyond the gates and into the world around them, with challenging programs in a wide variety of fields. A sample includes:
Mike Curb Institute for Music
Rhodes Learning Corridor
Crossroads to Freedom Digital Archives
Mayor’s Urban Fellows Program
Jack H. Taylor Fellowship in Physics
Riea and Steve Lainoff Fellowship Program
Other fellowship areas include theater, visual arts, art history, deaf literacy, biology, chemistry, and civic engagement. And with the help of an advisor, students may also develop a new fellowship to follow their dreams!
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Vanderbilt-Rhodes Academic Partnership
Rhodes and George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Rhodes and the University of Tennessee Nursing Program
Scholarships and Endowments
Clarence Day Scholars Program
Spence L. Wilson Service Scholarship Program
The McNeill Family Scholarship Fund
Bonner Scholars Endowment
Bettye M. Pedersen Scholarship
Frances Jeter Michaelcheck Scholarship Program
See the World
Rhodes Student Travel Fund facilitates student travel to present research or creative activity at professional meetings.
James H. and Carol P. Barton
International Study Scholarship
John C. Hugon International Study Scholarship
Elizabeth Roe Pearce ’91 International Study Scholarship
Rhodes is among a select group of colleges and universities eligible to participate in this program, which funds a year of international travel for students.
Henry Luce Foundation
Rhodes is one of only 75 colleges and universities allowed to nominate students for the Luce Scholars Program, which funds studies in Asia.