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Bethany Nolan
IU Communications

Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2012

IU senior John R. Brown named 2012 Gates Cambridge Scholar

Feb. 13, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University senior John R. Brown has been named a 2012 Gates Cambridge Scholar.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a highly competitive full-tuition scholarship awarded annually to 40 U.S. and 50 international applicants outside the United Kingdom for pursuit of a graduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Selection criteria include intellectual ability, leadership capacity and a desire to contribute to the world at large by working to improve the lives of others. The scholarship is the equivalent of a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University.

"While at Indiana University, John has combined his scholarly pursuits in English and mathematics with an active interest in arts and culture and, in doing so, has uncovered connections that only an extremely well-rounded student would have the ability to pursue," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "Indeed, all of us at IU are extremely proud of John and pleased that he will be able to continue his personal and intellectual growth through the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which, in just over a decade, has quickly become one of the most prestigious and highly competitive awards available to the world's most outstanding students."

A native of Rockford, Ill., Brown is seeking a double major in mathematics and English at IU. He is a Wells Scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa and president of the university's math club. He served on the university's Scholarship Advisory Committee and is a member of Board of Aeons, a student board that conducts research projects for the president's office.

"It makes me very happy to be in the good company of the previous winners from IU of other prestigious scholarships, and I'm proud to be a representative of IU to this program," Brown said. "I came to Indiana University as a Wells Scholar, and that's always been a very important part of my experience here. There are a lot of scholarly opportunities available at the university for top students and, if you have the initiative to go for them, the support is there for you."

Brown will participate in Cambridge's "Part III of the Math Tripos" and obtain a one-year Master of Advanced Study in pure mathematics. His career plans including teaching at the college level.

Brown said his love of mathematics often informs other aspects of his life, including his love for music, art and language. He's writing his English Honors thesis on Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" after conducting research over the summer at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. His well-rounded resume includes a stint as a docent at the IU Art Museum, where he created a tour called "Symmetry in Action: Discovering Math and Art." He also wrote an opinion column for IU's student newspaper, and he sings and plays the cello, guitar and piano.

For more information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, visit

In 2001, Greg Williams was the first student from Indiana University student selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. A Wells Scholar, a Churchill Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Williams studied chemistry at Cambridge's Churchill College.