Zach Morris ’02 reflects on expanding his horizons

Ripon College has had three Rhodes Scholars in its 162-year history. Zach Morris ’02 is the most recent. Rhodes scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Thirty-two young Americans are chosen each year to receive full financial support to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Morris, now of Madison, Wis., obtained two one-year master’s degrees at Oxford: one in medical anthropology in his first year, and one in the history of science and medicine during his second year.

At Ripon, Morris majored in chemistry and biology, and minored in Latin. He was a member of the Red Hawks football, baseball and swimming teams. At Oxford, he played lacrosse and earned the chance to participate in a varsity game against Cambridge.

Morris describes his experiences at Oxford as “incredible.” He had many memorable encounters, such as Thanksgiving football with Bill Clinton, a dinner reception at Buckingham Palace, and a tour of Robben Island Prison in South Africa led by Nelson Mandela. He also reflects on his travels throughout the United Kingdom and Europe with friends in a car he bought for $600; developing permanent friendships with his classmates; and joining in enlightening pub conversations at the Turf Tavern, a weekly event for his class.

The hardest part about his experience as a Rhodes Scholar was “coming back to the ‘real world’ after a surreal two-year experience,” Morris says.

Morris attributes much of his success at Oxford to his experiences at Ripon College. “I always felt the Ripon community was a great support network that was there to facilitate my goals and ambitions,” he says. He especially credits his former Ripon baseball coach, Gordie Gillespie, with teaching him about mental preparation for competitions, which Morris feels led to his success during his Rhodes interviews. He says history professor Diane Mockridge also helped prepare him well for the Rhodes application process.

Morris received medical doctor and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Medical School in 2011 and was a resident physician at the University of Hawaii as part of an internal medicine internship from 2011 to 2012. Since July 2012, Morris has been a resident physician at the University of WisconsinMadison Hospital and Clinics in radiation oncology, treating cancer patients

He and his wife, Camie, studied together at Oxford. Camie now teaches at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis. They have a son, Lincoln, and a newborn daughter, Adele.


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