X-Men soccer captain Liam Elbourne selected as 2019 Rhodes Scholar

X-Men soccer captain Liam Elbourne selected as 2019 Rhodes Scholar

ANTIGONISH, NS –StFX X-Men soccer captain and Schwartz School of Business student Liam Elbourne has been selected as a prestigious Rhodes Scholar for 2019.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and perhaps most prestigious international scholarship program, enabling outstanding young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford in England. Established under the will of Cecil Rhodes, the scholarships have been awarded since 1903. Recipients are extraordinary accomplished young people with outstanding scholastic records who must also have integrity of character, vigor, interest in and a respect for their fellow human beings, the ability to lead and the energy to use their talent to the fullest.

Halifax, N.S. native Liam Elbourne fits all of these criteria. A business/economics honours student, and a dedicated captain of the soccer team, Liam maintained an impressive average in the classroom while volunteering extensively within the StFX and Antigonish communities.

"In my first year at StFX, I never imagined that I would be selected as a Rhodes Scholar," comments Elbourne. "My main focus was soccer and I didn't really know what it meant to be a good student or to make an impact in the community. StFX turned out to be the perfect place for me, and for that reason I feel extremely grateful."

"My coaches, professors, and other individuals at the university were wonderful mentors to me. I was surrounded by great friends on my soccer team, along with academic programs that challenged me in many different ways. Most of all, though, I think of my parents, sister, and partner who have supported me in every way imaginable."

An accomplished researcher, Liam presented at the 52nd annual meeting of the Canadian Economics Association, with the distinction of being the only active undergraduate presenter amongst approximately 1000 professional economists, central bankers, professors, and graduate students. His research was then published in August 2018 in Economics Letters, a highly respected peer-reviewed journal which has featured the work of past Nobel Prize recipients.

Liam was the No. 1 ranked Business Administration student at StFX University in the 2017-18 academic year with a 94.25% average. Receiving annual in-house scholarships, he was a finalist last year for the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. Liam received the StFX Athletic Director's Award for academic achievement in 2016-17 and is a four-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian.

During his time at StFX, Liam has twice been a teaching assistant in the Department of Economics and has offered tutoring in courses across the business, economics, and mathematics departments. Now vice president of the StFX Economics Society, Liam aims to help build a mentorship program to be launched within the StFX Economics department, connecting current students with our highly successful Economics graduates.

Liam not only excels in the classroom, but he is a very active StFX student leader. The AUS student-athlete community service award recipient this past fall, he was also the 2018 StFX Male Community X-cellence award winner and was honoured as a Leader of Distinction with the StFX Leadership Academy.

StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson notes, ""Liam is one of the most compelling student-athletes I have ever known. He is a very deserving of being selected as a Rhodes Scholar as he is a man of outstanding intellect, character and leads in all facets of his life." 

"What I love about him is the way he embraces a challenge and sets high standards for himself.  It does not matter whether these challenges are academic, athletic related, or pertain to broader, more complex societal issues, as he has a belief system that he can make a meaningful difference if he applies his considerable skills and talents. Liam has always lived our values of integrity, accountability and teamwork and we are exceptionally proud of him."

In the StFX community, Elbourne has become an advocate for the prevention of sexualized violence. He served as the lone male panelist for the Contextualizing #MeToo panel discussion organized by the StFX Women's and Gender Studies department in November 2017. He also co-designed and co-facilitated a series of workshops in all StFX residences during the 2017-18 winter semester aimed at educating students on issues of consent and sexual assault. This past September, Elbourne was the keynote speaker at the Antigonish March in Respect for Women and he was recently featured in the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre's initiative called '16 Days of Activism on Gender-Based Violence'.    

In addition to this cause, Liam has led the opening of two year-long Exhibitions of Indigenous Art at StFX. The first was created in honour of the permanent installation of the Mi'kmaq flag on the StFX campus in October 2017, and its success was such that a second exhibition was encouraged by the university.

In his three years as President of the StFX German Society, Liam has been able to contribute positively to the student experience outside of the classroom. He has also been engaged with youth in his community for some time now. He has volunteered his time at the grassroots soccer level since he was a teenager, and in 2017, he was a facilitator at a youth leadership conference called Spark the Change, organized by the Healthy Relationships for Youth program in Nova Scotia.

A midfielder on the soccer team, Liam has captained the X-Men for the past three seasons, playing in all 12 games this season (starting in 11 of them), as he was a key piece in leading StFX to consecutive second place finishes in the league standings. He is also a former AUS all-star and was the 2014 AUS rookie of the year.

Head coach Graham Kennedy comments, "Liam started off as AUS rookie of the year and has helped reconstruct our men's soccer program. He played a significant role in moving our program in the right direction during his five-year career. Liam is an academic role model and a fierce competitor who genuinely loves the game. He has been a great captain for us because he is the full package student-athlete who carries himself with class, dignity and remarkable discipline. I don't think our younger players could emulate a better example than Liam when it comes to character, attitude and work ethic."

As a 2019 Rhodes Scholar, Liam will attend Oxford University in Oxford, England next fall.