Oprah Winfrey Scholarship for Bahamian Nathan Rolle


Nathan Rolle with Oprah Winfrey.



THE future is bright for Bahamian Nathan Rolle.

Currently in his senior year at Morehouse College, Rolle, 21, just discovered that he is one of the recipients of the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship at the historical black college.

Other Bahamian men who have been awarded the scholarship throughout the years include Carlos Outten and most recently, Stephen Seymour.

The scholarship, designed for students with strong academic performance, is geared towards training young men to be leaders and “to give back” in their respective communities.

And just recently, the scholarship programme made international headlines after Oprah announced that she would donate an additional 13 million dollars to the programme, ultimately making it the largest endowment in the school’s history.

In an interview with The Tribune, Rolle noted that the media mogul made the major announcement during a special ceremony in honour of the programe’s thirtieth anniversary.

“We were able to bring Ms Oprah Winfrey back to campus because she hasn’t been on the campus for thirty years and we had a whole programme set for her. The first programme was a ‘meet and greet’ with her scholars. She spoke with us and we took photos of her and the next session we had a luncheon with her,” he said. “After that, we had a portrait unveiling for her revealed, and then we had another talk with her. It was really interesting. She asked the students a lot of questions and that was when she donated another 13 million dollars to the scholar programme.”

Rolle, who is majoring in International Studies with a minor in Spanish, said he initially found out about the scholarship programme through his study abroad advisor.

“She actually nominated me for the award. She is a director of the study abroad programme (at my school) and she is also a director of the Oprah Winfrey scholars’ programme. I worked with her on a study abroad trip to the UK,” he said. “When I was (in the UK), I found out she nominated me for the award because you have to be nominated for it. So, she sent me the email and I read over it and applied. I got all of my recommendation letters and I only had to wait like a month, and then they sent me my acceptance letter.”

It was Oprah Winfrey’s scholarship, Rolle said, that has allowed him to complete his studies at the historic college for black men.

“I thank God for it because a lot has been going on at home," he said. "My mother had to sacrifice a few things to pay for my tuition because I had a partial scholarship with the school. But, with the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship, my whole tuition has been paid off and now, I’m able to finish my senior year and I don’t have to worry about any finances.”

As a recipient of the scholarship, Rolle said he will also have the opportunity to travel to South Africa this summer.

“Miss Winfrey actually makes it mandatory that about ten to thirteen scholars each year take a trip to South Africa to work at her school for girls. You also get to volunteer at different churches and communities and learn more about the culture of South Africa. I plan to go on the next trip in the summer,” he said.

For prospective Morehouse students who wish to become a recipient of the scholarship, Rolle gave this advice: “Keep God first always. Do not be hesitant with putting yourself out there. Let the success find you and talk to the right people. Work hard, stand out and everything will work in your favour.”