Fourth-year student named Rhodes scholar

Lucas Tse to study economic and social history at Oxford

Lucas Tse, a fourth-year student in the College, has earned a Rhodes Scholarship for Hong Kong to study at the University of Oxford next fall. He hopes to pursue an MPhil in economic and social history, with aspirations for a career as a scholar and educator.

“There are ideals in both directions that attract me,” Tse wrote in an email from Hong Kong, where he has lived for 19 years and where he was visiting family. “I would like to further my academic training and take on the challenges of scholarship, and at the same time do work outside the university, especially in Hong Kong and in mainland China. Education asks that we build something together that can connect with real human beings.”

Since 1986, one Rhodes Scholar for Hong Kong is selected annually on the basis of intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service, to join the other Rhodes scholars around the world. Tse is the 52nd person affiliated with the University of Chicago to earn a Rhodes scholarship.

“We are tremendously proud of Lucas, as Rhodes Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate the highest levels of academic excellence, character and ambition,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “The University of Chicago has a long history of fostering rigorous inquiry. We are delighted that Lucas’s pursuit of knowledge will continue to grow in preparation for a career as a scholar and educator.”

Tse has focused on philosophy and philology through the interdisciplinary Fundamentals major. That has afforded him close contact with UChicago scholars, whom he credits for guiding him “through philosophical and religious texts across traditions and helping me work toward an understanding of the core problems.” His Fundamentals paper is a philosophical reading of the Analects of Confucius, in which he examines moral transformation.

While at UChicago Tse has continued an interest in music. He studies voice privately and works with fellow student pianists to give recitals including works such as Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Fauré’s Cinq mélodies “de Venise” and Ravel’s Don Quichotte à Dulcinée. He also is a member of Chicago Chorale, the Rockefeller Chapel Choir and the Early Music Ensemble.

“Music is another way for people to communicate,” Tse said. “It is difficult and fulfilling to truly share an experience.”

Tse also teaches philosophy to youths aged 8 to 16 as part of the Civic Knowledge Project, a program that connects UChicago with South Side communities.

“The University has been an intellectual community for me,” Tse said. “I am often busy organizing and participating in reading groups. I have learned a lot by coming together with people from different academic backgrounds.”

Tse secured application support through the College Center for Scholarly Advancement, which guides undergraduates and College alumni through rigorous application processes for nationally competitive fellowships. Additional support is provided by the British Awards faculty nomination committee; their ongoing service is a critical part of students’ success at the national level.