Thursday, March 22, 2007

Andrew Mehdizadeh Selected As Washington College's First Presidential Fellow

Chestertown, MD, March 22, 2007 — Washington College is pleased to announce that Andrew Mehdizadeh, a member of the junior class, has been selected as the College's inaugural Robert W. and Louisa C. Duemling Presidential Fellow.

The prestigious Presidential Fellows Program is an annual institute presented by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP), and open to one student from each of 85 leading American colleges and universities. Through Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, this special opportunity is now open to WC students—and Mehdizadeh will be the first.

"Among a formidable field of applications, Andrew's was a standout," said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center. Mehdizadeh was selected by a faculty committee that included Goodheart, Melissa Deckman, Michael Harvey, Andrew Oros, Tahir Shad and Richard Striner.

"The committee was impressed by Andrew's outstanding academic work," Goodheart said, "and also by his extracurricular leadership in the Washington College community."

Mehdizadeh has been active in the Student Government Association, the International Relations Club, the Coalition for Peace and Social Justice, and the International Studies Council.

He also has logged considerable "real-world" service as an intern at the Center for American Progress and as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

"I'm honored and extremely grateful to have been chosen," said Mehdizadeh, a political-science major. "I'm grateful to the C.V. Starr Center, to Washington College and to the CSP. I look forward to going to Washington to study how history and politics intertwine."

Thanks to its first-time-ever inclusion in the program, Washington College joins a distinguished roster of participating American colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton. For more than 35 years, CSP Fellows have been coming to Washington, D.C., to learn about leadership and governance, to share their outstanding research and scholarship, to develop as future leaders of character, and to be inspired to careers in public service.

The Presidential Fellows Program is a non-resident, part-time, year-long opportunity to study the U.S. presidency, the public policymaking process, and the Chief Executive's relations with Congress, allies, the media and the American public.

"The program offers Washington College students an experience that—perhaps second only to a job in the White House—provides a close-up, insider's view of the U.S. presidency," said Goodheart. "Andrew will be taking his place among the best and brightest from America's leading colleges and universities."

Washington College's participation in the program comes courtesy of a generous gift from Robert W. and Louisa C. Duemling, longtime friends and benefactors of the College. Robert Duemling is former U.S. Ambassador to Suriname and former Director of the National Building Museum. In addition to having taught in Washington College's Department of Art, he is a Board of Visitors and Governors member emeritus and is Chairman of the Starr Center's Advisory Board.

"It's an exhilarating feeling," said Mehdizadeh, "to be the first Washington College student to have this opportunity."

Established in 2000 with a grant from the New York-based Starr Foundation, the C.V. Starr Center draws on the special historical strengths of Washington College and colonial Chestertown to explore the early republic, the rise of democracy, and the manifold ways in which the founding era continues to shape American culture, through innovative educational programs, scholarship, and public outreach. In addition to the Presidential Fellows Program, the Starr Center also offers a range of special programs and extracurricular opportunities to Washington College students, including the Comegys Bight Fellowships and Frederick Douglass Fellowships, as well as weekend road trips and summer programs. For more information, visit

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