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ILR alums, student named Schwarzman scholars

Kevin Bassney
Yamini Bhandari
Xinrong Lu

Two Cornell ILR School alumni and a current ILR student are among 129 people named 2018 Schwarzman scholars, the scholarship program announced Dec. 1 in Beijing and New York City.

The Schwarzman Scholars program, founded by business executive Stephen A. Schwarzman, seeks to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond by creating a cohort of young leaders who will gain a deeper knowledge of China while pursuing their academic study. The program was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which promotes international understanding and peace.

The scholars live and study at Schwarzman College on the Tsinghua University campus in Beijing, where they pursue one-year master’s degrees in global affairs with concentrations in public policy, economics and business or international studies. Coursework is conducted in English, with all scholars also studying Mandarin. They are immersed in an international community of senior leaders in business, politics and society, and the scholarship includes travel costs and a stipend.

Schwarzman contributed $100 million to the program and leads a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow it.

The Cornellians honored this year are:

Kevin Bassney ’13, a Fulbright scholar who graduated from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law in 2014 with a degree in European Integration. A graduate of the United States Army Ranger School, he has served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army since 2013. He said he hopes to pursue a career as a diplomat in the United States Foreign Service.

ILR student Yamini Bhandari ’17, who is pursuing a minor in business, law and society and inequality studies. As the undergraduate student-elected trustee on the Cornell Board of Trustees, she has spearheaded a campaign to establish an academic diversity requirement. She said she hopes the Schwarzman Scholars program can serve as a platform to launch a career at the World Bank.

Xinrong Lu ’16, who as an undergraduate explored means of elevating low-income workers’ working and living conditions and interned at the International Labor Organization. She works at a global investment bank in Hong Kong, and said she hopes to combine her experiences in business and international development with work as a social entrepreneur to explore ways of engaging the private sector in education and vocational training.

“I am delighted that three Cornellians were again selected as Schwarzman scholars,” said Kevin F. Hallock, the Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and Joseph R. Rich Professor of the ILR School. “Each of these ILRies is remarkable and pursuing projects in the public interest consistent with Cornell’s land-grant mission. I am eager to follow their progress in the years ahead.”

The first cohort of Schwarzman scholars also included three Cornellians: Juliana Batista, ILR ’16; Atticus DeProspo, ILR ’15; and Andrew Schoen, A&S ’12.

Mary Catt is interim dean for communications at the ILR School.

Media Contact

John Carberry