BETHANY, W.Va. — Dustin M. Frazier, a recent Bethany College graduate, has been selected as one of 38 candidates from the United States to be offered a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in England.
Frazier, from Parkersburg and a graduate of Parkersburg South High School, graduated from Bethany in May of 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English Literature. His other main courses at Bethany were in medieval and renaissance studies and in History.
"We are, of course, very proud of Dustin," Bethany President G.T. "Buck" Smith said. "He had a distinguished career at Bethany, both in his academic pursuits as well as leadership to the larger campus community. His selection as a Gates Cambridge Scholar is richly deserved, and extends the long legacy of distinction achieved by Bethany graduates over the past 165 years," President Smith said.
In late September, Frazier left for Cambridge University in England where he will study for a master's degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Norse. Frazier is the first Bethany graduate to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
"I'm delighted to see excellence properly recognized and rewarded," said Dr. Larry E. Grimes, Chair of the Department of English and Professor in the Perry and Aleece Gresham Chair in Humanities at Bethany. "Dustin got everything he could from Bethany and returned much to us in the process. He also went to Oxford (University) as planned. His experience at Oxford supplemented our program and prepared him to be a most wonderful candidate for graduate work in medieval studies. I cheer him on as he takes advantage of England's other university. He'll excel at Cambridge," Dr. Grimes said.
Happy and excited with the announcement of the scholarship, Frazier said he will be "working with something I love."
Frazier explained that he applied last fall for the scholarship and then learned that he was scheduled for an interview this past spring. That interview took place March 4-5, 2005 in Annapolis, Md., for Frazier and other candidates from throughout the United States. Frazier said he was relaxed for that interview, conceding that it had been "a long time to be nervous."
"Dustin likes ideas," his Bethany academic advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Hull, said. "He's figured out that work is fun and work is pleasure for him," she said. "He throws himself into everything, gets involved and took advantage of all Bethany had to offer," she said, adding, "Oxford opened up a world of ideas for Dustin and was crucial to his development." Dr. Hull is Associate Professor of English in the Robert L. Martin Chair in English Literature.
Frazier said he felt comfortable with Bethany as his college the first time he walked on campus at an open house event. His sophomore year at the College was one of his best experiences, he said. "That fall I met (my advisor) Elizabeth Hull. I spent the second semester of that year studying at Oxford. When I returned to Bethany for the junior year, I was ready to take on more," he said.
Appointed as Senior Fellow in the English Department, Frazier was also the recipient of Bethany's Shaw Travel Award and spent the summer before his junior year studying and traveling in Africa.
Frazier said, "At Bethany, the ability to take an active role in a variety of clubs has certainly helped me to become a more agile thinker and to effectively multi-task, to use a word I don't normally use. Yes, Bethany has given me more opportunities to learn and experience than I ever thought I would be given."
On campus, he was an officer of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and held memberships in Phi Alpha Theta, history honor society; Pi Gamma Mu, social science honor society; Lambda Iota Tau, literature honor society; Sigma Tau Epsilon, music honor society; Gamma Sigma Kappa, all-College scholastic fraternity; and Kalon Society, Bethany's leadership and service honor society.
Frazier was active in Bethany College theatre, choir, wind ensemble and the Broadway Group. He was a member of the Music Club, treasurer of the Writer's Club and president and founder of the Gay-Straight Alliance. He was a student member of the College's curriculum and library committees and a member of the editorial board for The Harbinger, the student literary publication.
Frazier will be part of the fifth annual contingent of Gates Scholars, selected from countries around the world, to begin graduate studies at the University of Cambridge. These scholars, highly talented young men and women from all over the world, will be studying subjects across a range of knowledge, including arts, science, humanities, social science, technology and medicine.
The Gates program began in 2001. Since that time, more than 200 scholars have completed studies at Cambridge and have gone on to other fields of endeavor around the world.
Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the scholarships, according to Bill Gates, are to fill the need for "highly educated leaders, skilled in research and analysis, who will undertake a creative approach to defining and solving problems so that we can address the injustices and inequities around the world. Gates Cambridge Scholarships give young people an opportunity to develop and refine such skills. In Cambridge, Gates Scholars are able to work with distinguished faculty and other equally bright students from many different countries and cultures. On graduation from Cambridge, Gates Scholars are in an ideal position to bring new vision and apply their learning to the benefit of society at large."
Frazier said he already knows of every member of his academic department at Cambridge "through their scholarship" and is anxious to begin his work and to be able to have again his pot of English "cream tea."
Frazier said the remainder of his career at Bethany was both harder and easier. "Easier," he said, "in that the pressure of graduate school and decision-making was gone, "Harder," he added, "in that I know what comes next and have just enough information to daydream to distraction."
Before leaving for Cambridge, Frazier served as the speaker for Bethany's Opening Fall Convocation where he spoke on, "The Tightrope," a speech he gave to his fellow classmates at Commencement. Frazier told his fellow Bethanians to take chances and "to choose the tightrope" because it is more fulfilling then choosing an easier option.