Rhodes Less Traveled

Golfer was a finalist for prestigious Rhodes Scholarship

By BoNhia Lee

Danielle Richman likes reading. Her friends joke about all the books she has lined up on the shelf of her dorm room.

But the political science and history graduate (she double majored) from Manhattan Beach, south of Los Angeles, shrugs it off. Reading and studying, Richman says, opens her mind up to some of the major issues facing the world today, including her growing passion on refugee policy and foreign politics.

In fall 2019, Richman was one of 236 finalists from 90 colleges and universities nationwide for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. More than 2,900 students started the application process, and 963 were endorsed by their universities.

“I am so honored because I know Fresno State hasn’t had any (Rhodes) scholars,” Richman says. “I’m super happy and humbled and super honored to represent Fresno State.”

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and best known award for international study available to American college graduates. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity, was established in 1902 upon the death of British businessman and politician Cecil Rhodes to provide full scholarships for students to study at Oxford. Scholars are chosen for their academic excellence, their commitment to others and to the common good and for their potential for leadership.

Richman is a President’s Scholar in the Smittcamp Family Honors College at Fresno State and is in the College of Social Sciences Honors Program. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA while also a student-athlete on the women’s golf team where she was named a Mountain West Student-Athlete Scholar. She was also named the Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist for the College of Social Sciences.

Golf, which Richman started playing in high school to get out of running a mile in physical education class, helped shape her work ethic, she says. In addition to her school work and golf practice, Richman found time to volunteer in the community with the Big Heroes Little Heroes student-athlete program at Valley Children’s Healthcare, at the Fresno Food Bank and Art of Life Cancer Foundation.

“Golf is very technical and requires a lot of hours and practice,” Richman says. “I would not have the work ethic I do if it wasn’t for golf. I have learned to make the most of my time. I’ve learned that in order to get something done, it’s going to require a lot of time and effort. If you want to do something you have to put in the right amount of time.”

She encourages other students to make time for things they are passionate about and to seek out programs like the Rhodes Scholarship.

Richman plans to pursue a master’s degree in philosophy in politics and international studies or in international peace and security at a university in England. She would like to work for an intergovernmental organization on international human rights or for a nongovernmental agency as a human rights lawyer or consultant in post conflict resolution and management.

“Danielle’s exemplary academic record and drive to achieve her scholastic and professional goals have never run counter to her personal features of character, humanity and collegiality,” says Dr. William Skuban, professor of history at Fresno State. “To be sure, she is a leader in the classroom, but outside the classroom her involvement in university governance, intercollegiate athletics and community service point to an exceptionally well-rounded student and one that fully embodies the finest qualities of a Rhodes Scholar.”