Marshall program selects Hamilton’s Palmer ’18 for coveted scholarship – News



Marquis Palmer grew up less than 10 miles from the Hamilton College campus in an environment where poverty rates were high and expectations often low. Now Palmer, a 2018 Hamilton graduate from Utica, NY, has been selected to receive a Marshall scholarship, one of the most competitive and prestigious graduate scholarships awarded to US citizens.

Marquis Palmer is congratulated by Philosophy Professor Todd Franklin after Palmer received the James Soper Merrill Award during Class & Charter Day in 2018.

“I haven’t known a person who has come so far, so fast, so well,” said Rick Werner, professor of philosophy emeritus. Mentor and philosophy professor Todd Franklin added, “I have never worked with a student of the caliber of Marquis Palmer; I have no doubts that he will rise far beyond me – and as he does, I will be counting my lucky stars for having had the opportunity to glimpse him during the early stages of his ascension.

Palmer would earn two degrees in two years at two different UK institutions: a Master of Science in Political Thought from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and a Master of Philosophy in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.

“[M]y Marshall Scholarship, ”said Palmer,“ will allow me to connect with racial justice advocates in England, with whom I hope to engage in a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, experiences, expertise and strategies that can help both UK and UK. The United States truly embodies our shared values ​​of freedom and equality.

The interests flowed from Palmer’s education and his studies in Hamilton.

Marquis Palmer
For his project Emerson 2017, Marquis Palmer ’18 filmed a short documentary, based in his hometown of Utica, about the experience of losing a loved one to the prison system.

Growing up in Utica, NY

“Growing up, I witnessed the incarceration of so many loved ones, including my father,” Palmer said. “I saw my mom clocking an eight-hour shift just to clock another – and still barely making enough to support our family of eight. I have seen the trauma of poverty open the way for drug addiction, then criminalization or death – but barely treatment – of my loved ones. And by my stepfather, whom ICE held under [President] Obama and deported under [President] Trump, I learned of the systemic disadvantages facing immigrant communities in this country. “

“[T]These struggles almost guaranteed me a bleak future, ”Palmer said, but local community organizations such as Occupy Utica, Mohawk Valley Junior Frontiers and On Point for College have helped him“ shift my focus to education and l ‘community activism’.

During her senior year at Thomas R. Proctor High School in Utica, Palmer approached Phyllis Breland, who at the time was Hamilton’s Director of Opportunities Programs, to discuss her interest in attending college. She immediately recognized “a diamond for all to see”.

Marquis Palmer '18 with Phyllis Breland
Marquis Palmer ’18 with Phyllis Breland ’80, former Director of Opportunities Programs.

“In my 19 years as Director of Opportunities Programs at Hamilton College,” Breland wrote in his recommendation to the Marshall Scholarship Selection Committee, “I have witnessed many successes, but never with consistency , focus, motivation and achievements accumulated as a marquess. The story of Marquis is a testament to what some say is the impossible. Marquis came from a low income family in Utica, New York. His family’s early interaction with the criminal and judicial systems could have engulfed him in anger…. Instead, Marquis chose civic engagement, community collaboration, and being a productive member of society as his voice.

“His life served as a preparation for his passion,” added Breland.

Palmer said of his relationship with Breland: “[H]His support and confidence in me… kept me spending all my time in Hamilton and made it next to impossible to do anything other than be successful.

Like most influential leaders, Marquis leads by example. Whether putting pressure on those in power for answers, building and forming coalitions or organizing peaceful protests, Marquis has always stepped forward and committed to the service of justice. social.

Undergraduate years in Hamilton

Palmer excelled in Hamilton academically, socially, and as a student leader. A philosophy graduate, he received a grant from the Emerson Foundation in 2015 to examine the Black Lives Matter movement from what he called “the perspective of anarchist political philosophy,” and a second Emerson grant in 2017 which used the video to explore the loss of a family member to incarceration.

“Both experiences reinforced my desire to delve deeper into political theory and criminology in the hope of finding something that can help us emerge from the racial crisis – in and outside of criminal justice – which has been plaguing ever since. a long time in our country. The Marshall Fellowship is an exciting next step on this intellectual journey. “

As an undergraduate student, Palmer served as a tutor at the Writing Center, teaching assistant in the literature and philosophy departments, class representative in the Students’ Assembly, an officer in the Union of Black Students. and Latino and founder of the Hamilton Philanthropy Committee Young Civic Leader Scholarship for Local High School Students.

“Although Marquis shines brightly academically,” Franklin said, “he shines perhaps the most in terms of leadership. Like most influential leaders, Marquis sets an example. From putting pressure on those in power for answers, to create and form coalitions or organize peaceful demonstrations, Marquis has always stepped forward and committed to the service of social justice.

Palmer spent his first year studying philosophy and literature at the University of Oxford in the UK, where his professor of existentialism called him “the brightest student” who “consistently delivers almost perfectly argued articles and very deeply enlightening who display a powerful independent voice, very critical. thought, very sophisticated reasoning and very original erudition.

James Soper Merrill Award recipient Marquis Palmer ’18 speaks at the launch.

Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the country’s oldest honorary academic society, Palmer received the 2018 James Soper Merrill Award of Hamilton, awarded to the member of the class “who by his character and influence embodied the highest ideals. high school students. “He received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 2018, which he used to explore skateboarding as a tool for community activism in Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Mozambique and Greece. He also received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic, but chose the Watson, and in 2019 was selected Student Star and Student Lecturer for On Point for College, a local non-profit organization that helps first-generation youth to attend the University Since completing his Watson Fellowship, Palmer has worked as a researcher and investigator with Brooklyn Defender Services.

“While I’ve known individual students with some of Marquis’s talents, I don’t think I’ve known students with all of his talents together like him,” Werner said. “It is a work of art – style, grace and beauty.”

Marquis Palmer '18 and Rick Werner
Marquis Palmer ’18 with Philosophy Professor Rick Werner.

Marshall scholarship

Created by the British Parliament in 1953 in appreciation for the United States’ creation of the Marshall Plan, an American aid program for Western Europe after the ravages of World War II. Up to 50 young top Americans are selected each year for postgraduate study at an institution in the UK. The Marshall Fellowship was modeled after the equally competitive Rhodes Fellowship program, which was established in 1902. Applicants are assessed on the basis of academic merit, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential.

Palmer is the third Hamilton graduate selected for the prestigious scholarship. It follows John Hewko ’79, secretary general and managing director of Rotary International who was a Marshall Fellow at the University of Oxford from 1979 to 1981, and Scott Gwara ’84, professor of English language and literature at the University of Carolina from the South who studied at Cambridge University from 1984 to 1986.

Previous Marshall Scholarship winners have included Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, business CEOs, college and university presidents and deans, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, MacArthur Genius Prize winners , a Nobel laureate and an astronaut.


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