Fairfield University student Charles Knights, a junior with plans for a life of service, awarded MLK Ripple of Hope Scholarship



Image: C KnightDr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have liked Fairfield University junior Charles Knights' spirit.

The 21-year-old has embarked on a life of giving back, through public service and civic engagement. For those reasons and more, Knights, of Marshfield, Mass., is the winner of Fairfield University's first Ripple of Hope Scholarship.

"I am so excited and honored to receive this," says Knights, a student in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The $1,500 scholarship is an annual award presented by the university's Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance Committee, given to a student who embodies the values close to the civil rights leader's heart.

During the recent spring semester, Knights was elected president of the Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA). "I feel I can make an impact and contribute to do some good for others with FUSA," said the Boston College High School graduate. Taking part in the university's Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN), a service initiative of the university's Center for Faith and Public Life, has provided perspective for his plans post Fairfield. His double major in International Studies and Religious Studies, and minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, is also preparing him well for his likely next role - working in global public health. "The historical and cultural aspects of these disciplines are helping me get a global view," he says.

At the same time, his involvement with Project Excel and Fairfield's Men's Rugby Club has further fine-tuned his leadership skills and taught him about the value of teammates, on and off the field.

"I once came across a quote that I feel particularly connects my path with the legacy of Dr. King, 'There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream,' " Knights wrote in his Ripple of Hope essay.

Knights' selection as the scholarship winner was unanimous. Fred J. Kuo, associate director of University Activities and co-chair of the committee, said, "Charlie continues to demonstrate himself to be a person of incredible perseverance and of the utmost character."

The committee felt so strongly about the strength of the scholarship applicant pool that it acknowledged three other finalists with a $100 award. They are Maria Clinton '13, of Peekskill, N.Y.; Brittany Degraffenreid '12, of New York, N.Y., and Melissa Hannequin '13, of Bethel, Conn.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 16, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 325