AUBURN – Former Auburn diver Dan Mazzaferro has been named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, marking the third straight year the Auburn swimming and diving program has produced a Rhodes finalist.
The Rhodes Scholarships, founded in 1904, are the oldest international fellowships. Winners of the scholarship have the opportunity to do graduate work at the University of Oxford located in Oxford, United Kingdom.
“An engaging scholar, a world class athlete and a true servant, Dan’s motivation for doing world class research in Dr. Mike Squillacote’s organic chemistry lab all the while competing at the top levels of his sport is so extraordinarily strong, his promise so unparalleled, that I am confident in predicting that Dan will accomplish something awesome and huge in his life’s work,” said Paul Harris, associate director for National Prestigious Scholarships at Auburn University.
A native of Cheshire, Conn., Mazzaferro was an Olympic Trials finalist, a seven-time All-American, a three-time SEC Champion, co-SEC Male Diver of the Year, a CoSIDA Academic All-American, a team captain and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President. He helped lead Auburn to the 2007 and 2009 NCAA Championships and represented the United States in the World University Games.
“It is a true honor and privilege to be blessed with the opportunity of being named a Rhodes Finalist,” Mazzaferro said. “I am delighted to have come this far and am even more excited for the interview in a couple weeks. Entering Auburn University as a freshman, I never imagined I would be applying for the Rhodes scholarship several years later. However, it is a culmination of my family support, Auburn University friends and mentors and experiences that have developed me into the person I am today.”
Mazzaferro joins two other swimming and diving student athletes – Erica Meissner and Jordan Anderson – along with former gymnast Krissy Voss as the fourth Auburn student-athlete to be named a Rhodes finalist in the last three years. Anderson was a Rhodes Scholar recipient in 2009, and Meissner and Voss were finalists last year.
“We could not be more proud of Dan for this phenomenal accomplishment,” Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “It is remarkable that our swimming and diving program has produced Rhodes finalists three consecutive years. Dan has succeeded at the very highest levels academically, athletically and in the community, so this recognition is well deserved. Dan is certainly a worthy candidate for the Rhodes.”
Mazzaferro had a cumulative grade point average of 3.92 in earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in May 2010 and has a cumulative 4.00 GPA in graduate school while earning his M.B.A. degree this fall. He was the 2010-11 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, received a Phi Kappa Phi National Graduate Fellowship and won the President’s Medal for the College of Sciences and Mathematics.
Earlier this fall, he was awarded the highest honor an Auburn student-athlete can receive with the Cliff Hare Award, presented each year to a senior student-athlete “who, in addition to athletic and scholarship achievement, exhibits in great degree the qualities of leadership, integrity and courage.”
“We congratulate Dan on being named a Rhodes Scholar finalist,” Auburn Head Diving Coach Jeff Shaffer said. “We appreciate the many contributions he has made to Auburn University and the swimming and diving team, both academically and athletically. We are proud to have him continue the tradition of Rhodes Scholar candidates from Auburn’s Swimming and Diving program.”
An Auburn University Honors Scholar, he is also a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, Delta Epsilon Iota and National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
The next step for Mazzaferro is a two-day interview process. He will appear before the District II Selection Committee Nov. 19-20 in Boston, joining 12 other finalists from the district. Two finalists will be selected as 2012 Rhodes Scholars.