Former Rhodes Scholar Michael Lamb ’04 Publishes Book on Cultivating Virtue in the University

head and shoulder image of college professor Michael Lamb

When political science alumnus Michael Lamb ’04 was a student at Rhodes College, he received the highly coveted Rhodes Scholarship. First awarded in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship (England) is one of the most competitive scholarships in the world, enabling outstanding young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford.

In early 2004, shortly after learning about his selection for the Rhodes Scholarship, Lamb approached the Rhodes College President’s office with the idea for a book to showcase how Rhodes students were integrating academic learning with serving and befriending others in Memphis and other parts of the world.

A 120-page book titled Transformations: Stories of Service was the result of Lamb’s vision and editing and was published by the college in 2005. Now a tenured professor at Wake Forest University, Lamb has a new book out titled Cultivating Virtue in the University with co-editors Jonathan Brant and Edward Brooks of the Oxford Character Project at the University of Oxford.

According to the publisher’s description of the book: “While there has been a robust movement to educate character among children and adolescents, much less attention has been given to the ethical formation of college and university students. What is the role of colleges and universities in educating the character of students? Should universities even attempt to cultivate virtue? If so, how can they do so effectively in a pluralistic context? Cultivating Virtue in the University seeks to answer these questions by gathering diverse perspectives on character education within twenty-first century universities.”

Lamb holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rhodes.

“My own character was formed significantly during my time at Rhodes, both in the classroom and in the community,” says Lamb. “I am grateful to Rhodes for offering a robust liberal arts education that emphasizes community engagement and teaches students how to live and lead.”

While an undergraduate, Lamb was president of both the Honor Council and the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. In addition, he was a regular volunteer at Rhodes’ soup kitchen, tutored elementary school children, worked at a nonprofit legal center, and constructed houses and playgrounds in Mexico. At graduation, he also received the college’s two highest student honors, the Phi Beta Kappa Prize and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which recognizes service to others.
More than 80 percent of students at Rhodes College participate in service. Learn more here.