Franck Nijimbere, a computer science and mathematics major who graduated from Morehouse College in May 2018, has been named as Morehouse’s fifth Rhodes Scholar.
Nijimbere will join the International Rhodes Scholar class at Oxford University in October 2019 representing his home country of Burundi. The prestigious honor makes Morehouse the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“It’s a great honor to be part of such a circle of leaders and intellectuals,” said Nijimbere, whose Morehouse education was funded by a generous donation from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the people who have molded me into the person I am today: my parents, my family, my educators, my friends, and my mentors. I truly stand on the shoulders of giants.”
Nijimbere is Morehouse’s second consecutive computer science and mathematics major to rise to the ranks of a Rhodes Scholar. In 2016, Prince Abudu, who also received degrees in math and computer science, was named as an International Rhodes Scholar representing his home country of Zimbabwe.
Morehouse President David A. Thomas said the Rhodes Scholar recognition is an international endorsement of the academic excellence of Morehouse students and the quality of instruction offered in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at the College. It places Morehouse among the best liberal arts colleges in the country, he said.
“I am proud of our fifth Rhodes Scholar, and I look forward to congratulating him and the men of Morehouse who will follow in his footsteps,” Thomas said.
Nijimbere graduated from Morehouse College summa cum laude with a 3.86 grade point average. He was inducted into the Beta Kappa Chi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies for his academic achievements. He also gained work experience as an engineering and technology intern at Google and Goldman Sachs. He later decided to defer graduate school for a year to work as a software engineer at Microsoft.
Next fall, the Rhodes Scholar will return to the classroom to pursue a doctorate in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning at Oxford University.
A letter from Rhodes Trust congratulates him for his accomplishments: “You have been chosen as a Rhodes Scholar because your Committee saw in you someone who has the talent, desire, and potential to make a difference for good in the world. … It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the global community of Rhodes Scholars.”
Morehouse College was the first Historically Black College (HBCU) to produce an African American Rhodes Scholar, Nima Warfield, named in 1994. The other Morehouse Rhodes Scholars were: Christopher Elders, 2002, Oluwabusayo “Tope’” Folarin, 2004, and Prince Abudu, 2016.