Alum and Former ASG President Selected as Schwarzman Finalist

JP Gairhan

photo submitted

JP Gairhan

JP Gairhan, a 2019 honors Graduated from the University of Arkansas Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was selected as a Schwarzman finalist. He applied for the scholarship earlier this month.

The award enables a one-year graduate study at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of the leading institutions in China. If selected, Gairhan, a native of Little Rocker, will have the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs, focusing on three main areas: China, global affairs and leadership.

The Schwarzman program was founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone.

“To be selected as a Schwarzman finalist is an incredible honor,” said Gairhan. “The opportunity to study at Tsinghua University would be transformative. I really appreciate all those who have supported me throughout the process and I look forward to the steps ahead.”

The Schwarzman Fellowship, modeled after the Rhodes Fellowship, is designed to recognize academic and service achievements, as well as to educate and prepare outstanding future leaders to face the difficult challenges that the global community will face, while developing an understanding of China .

Schwarzman receives applications from all over the world and will enroll 145 of “the best students in the world.” The scholarship holders are selected in a strict process. We are looking for students with “academic qualifications as well as leadership potential and strength of character”. Normally, the students invited for an interview would now head to Beijing, London, New York or Bangkok, but this year they will again be interviewing online.

As a student at U of A, Gairhan supported the campus community in many ways. He has served as President of the Associated Student Government, Chair of the Distinguished Lecture Committee, and Director of Campus Security.

He has received several awards, including the Henry Woods Student Leadership Award from the University of Arkansas and the Margaret Kirby Hantz Service Award from the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Since graduating, Gairhan has worked with Congressman John Lewis as a staff assistant in Washington, DC and has had the honor of being one of the first two Fulbright Scholars in Botswana. His community involvement has been extensive and includes working with Peace Corps in Panauti, Nepal, volunteering with AmeriCorps in Sunflower, Mississippi, and founding the Kgalagadi Women’s Empowerment Center in Tsabon, Botswana. His future plans are to serve as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) specializing in youth development and education.

“As ASG President, JP Gairhan has been instrumental in driving several important initiatives during his tenure,” said Chancellor Charles Robinson. “He was an effective leader who was always service oriented and I have enjoyed working with him both when he was my student and in his official ASG roles. He has demonstrated this combination of leadership and service since graduating in his work with Americorps and as a Fulbright US student scholar in Botswana. He is a remarkable person who deserves to be selected as a Schwarzman finalist.”

The scholarship is fully funded for all participants, including travel expenses and a personal stipend, and is supported by the program’s foundation. Scholars will live and study together at Schwarzman College, the state-of-the-art academic and residential building built exclusively for the program at Tsinghua University.

About Schwarzman Scholars: Schwarzman Scholars was built to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman has personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to sustain the program. The US$450 million foundation annually supports up to 200 scholars from the United States, China and around the world for a one-year master’s degree program at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research . Scholars selected for this highly selective program will study in Beijing for a year and immerse themselves in the culture, attend lectures, travel and gain a better understanding of China. Admission to the Schwarzman campus opened in the fall of 2015, with the first undergraduate class in 2016. Danielle Neighbor, a 2017 civil engineering graduate of the University of Arkansas, was in the second class of the Schwarzman Scholars.

Students interested in applying for the Schwarzman Scholarship or other nationally competitive awards should contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at 479-575-3771 or email [email protected].

About the University of Arkansas: As the flagship Arkansas institution, the U of A offers internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy by imparting new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and workplace development, discovery through research and creative pursuits, while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few US colleges and universities with the highest research activity. US News & World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. See how the U of A works to create a better world at Arkansas Research News.