Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas woman named Rhodes scholar

A University of Pennsylvania student from Tierra Verde is among this year's winners of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships.

Abigail P. Seldin, a 20-year-old anthropology student, organized an exhibit about the previously unknown history of Lenape Indians that is now on display at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

Seldin is one of 32 men and women from across the United States to win the scholarships for study at England's Oxford University. Winners were officially announced Sunday, but Seldin received the news after an interview with a selection committee on Saturday.

"I was shocked," Seldin said. "I didn't say anything for about five minutes. I managed 'Thank you' and 'I'm honored' but my mind was blank."

Seldin, who plans to graduate in May with a bachelor's and a master's degree in anthropology, became the first undergraduate to curate an exhibit at the university's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

History books say the Lenape tribe left Pennsylvania by 1803, Seldin said, but there were some who stayed behind, intermarrying with whites but quietly continuing their indigenous ways through the generations.

Seldin said she admired the survival of cultural traditions despite the difficulty involved in maintaining them in secret.

Seldin said she will postpone plans to co-author a book with Chief Robert Ruth of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania while she studies social anthropology abroad.

Though her family lives in Tierra Verde, Seldin attended a boarding school at Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. She graduated in 2005.

She is not the only 2008 Rhodes winner with Florida ties.

Florida State University college football star safety Myron Rolle, who had to miss part of Saturday's game against Maryland for his Rhodes interview, also received the award.

Rolle, of New Jersey, is a pre-med student and hopes to become a neurosurgeon.

"It was a very exciting day, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to study at Oxford," Rolle said after arriving in College Park, Md., to play in the second half of the game.

Well-known Rhodes scholars from the United States include former President Bill Clinton, former basketball star and Sen. Bill Bradley, author and social critic Naomi Wolf and former Gen. Wesley Clark.

The winners were picked from 769 applicants endorsed by 207 colleges and universities nationwide. The students will enter Oxford University in England — the world's oldest English-language university — next October.

Created in 1902, the scholarships are the oldest of the international study awards available to American students and provide for two or three years of study. The scholarships have an estimated value of $50,000 for each year of study.

Since the program's inception, 3,164 Americans from 309 colleges and universities have won Rhodes Scholarships.

This report includes information from the Associated Press and Times archives. Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4162.

Pinellas woman named Rhodes scholar 11/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 6:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]