In the first year that women were eligible for the traditionally all-male Rhodes Scholarships, three Radcliffe students, as well as two Harvard undergraduates, have won the award.
The winners here are Laura J. Garwin '77 of Quincy House and Scarsdale, New York; Dennis E. Kloske '77 of South House and Bremerton, Washington; Lissa Muscatine '76 of Berkeley, Cal., Denise A. Thal '77 of Winthrop House and Huntington Woods, Mich., and Milton M. Yasunaga '77 of Kirkland House and Honolulu, Hawaii, the Rhodes Scholarship Committee announced Dec. 19.
Under the British Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, the British government altered the terms of Cecil Rhodes's will to allow women to compete for the scholarship his legacy endows. Thirteen of this year's 32 total winners are women.
Thal said yesterday she objected to recent news coverage which stressed the fact that she is a woman rather than emphasizing her achievement in winning the scholarship. She plans to study politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford.
David S. Staiger, secretary of the Michigan Committee for the selection of the Rhodes Scholarship, said women's eligibility intensified the competition this year.
Kloske said the interview is the crucial step in selection--"It was the most harrowing experience I've ever gone through." Kloske plans to study international relations during his two years at Oxford.
Staiger said yesterday the committee depends mostly on the essay the candidate submits and the six or seven comprehensive recommendations submitted on the candidate's behalf.
Staiger said athletic proficiency is not a major qualification. "Candidates must be physically able to lead a strenuous and active life," a qualification most college students meet, he added.
The selection was made on the basis of academic excellence, athletic ability, character, and an eventual aim to enter public service. Kloske said yesterday "they want real Renaissance men--someone who can discuss Descartes and run the 50 yards in Olympic times."
Two of the winners, Thal and Muscatine, were roommates, co-captains of the Radcliffe tennis team, and doubles partners in tennis.
Thal said yesterday the two former roommates did not know each other had applied until after the deadline.