Whiz Kid Tom Wolf Awarded Marshall

Thomas P. Wolf ’05 was named as one of the nation’s 43 Marshall Scholars on Monday, providing him with funding for two years of study in the United Kingdom.

A history concentrator who lives in Pforzheimer House, Wolf plans to study at Cambridge University next fall to pursue two Master of Philosophy degrees.

“I was definitely surprised to an extent, but at the same time I was just really excited,” Wolf said. “A lot of hard work had gone into [the application], both on my part and the part of those who had advised me.”

Wolf, a New Jersey native, is a high jumper on the Harvard Track and Field team and a volunteer at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.

After focusing on American and modern European intellectual history at Harvard, he plans to now study political thought, intellectual history, modern society and global transformation.

He said the $60,000 scholarship will allow him “to fill in some gaps” in his undergraduate work.

“Issues of urban justice and renewal interest me, and this is an opportunity to become a mediator and a strategist, and integrate these [social theories] into large projects aimed at revitalizing urban areas,” Wolf said.

Great Britain started the Marshall Scholarship program in 1953 to thank the U.S. for the post-WWII aid that it granted Europe under U.S. Gen. George C. Marshall’s direction.

“The scholarship itself is based on the vision of George Marshall...of being global citizens,” said Terri Evans, public affairs director for the British Consulate in Boston. “We look for someone who will serve as an ambassador, a bridge to the world. That element of a capacity and vision for change and for making a difference is at the core of the scholarship.”

Wolf’s reception of the Marshall Scholarship comes after Harvard failed to win any scholarships last year, a first in history for the University that has had more Marshall Scholars than any other.

Wolf’s professors praised his academic performance.

“Tom was the clear standout in our junior class, there’s no question about that,” said Professor James Hankins, who taught Wolf’s junior history tutorial. “He’s the sort of student that professors talk about among themselves.”

“[Tom] is living proof that the phrase scholar-athlete is not an oxymoron,” said Kemper Professor of American History James Kloppenberg. “I’ve been Tom’s adviser since the first week of freshman year, and the relationship has demonstrated to me how valuable it would be for senior faculty at Harvard to get to know students from the day they arrive, instead of only in their junior and senior years.”

Previous Marshall Scholars include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 and scientist Ray Dolby, inventor of Dolby sound systems.

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