Four West VirginiaUniversity seniors will compete for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship this week and, if they are lucky, two may advance to Saturdays (Dec. 7) Mid-Atlantic regional competition in Washington, D.C.

Jessica Fisher, a biology major from Moorefield; Stephanie Taylor, a journalism major from Clarksburg; Autumn Starn, a biology and French major from Fairmont; and Tom Caranasos, a first-year medical student from Gainesville, Fla., will be interviewed by the 2003 West Virginia Selection Committee today (Dec. 4).

The West Virginia finalists will compete in the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend with students from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Four students from this region will be selected as Rhodes Scholars; only 32 are awarded annually in the United States.

The Rhodes Scholarship �€among the most prestigious academic awards in the world �€is based on academic excellence, integrity, respect for others, leadership ability and sports prowess.

The scholarship was established in 1902 by 19th century empire builder and politician Cecil Rhodes, who dreamed of making an education at OxfordUniversity available to English-speaking students. He willed an annual sum to provide two or three years of study in any field offered by the 800-year-old university.

WVU has an impressive record of Rhodes Scholars with 25 students having been selected over the years, including WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. Hardesty was awarded the scholarship in 1967, becoming WVU s 16th Rhodes Scholar. Carolyn Connor from ClayCounty was the last student to receive the award in 1995.