Oliver Douglas chosen as Rhodes Scholar for South Australia for 2024

Mr Oliver Douglas (St Mark’s 2020-23) was yesterday announced as the Rhodes Scholar-elect for South Australia for 2024 – a brilliant achievement!

The Rhodes Scholarship will take Oliver to the University of Oxford next year to undertake postgraduate study in modern history.

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards in the world. Rhodes Scholars are chosen on the basis of excellence in intellect, character, leadership, and service. Oliver Douglas is St Mark’s College’s 30th Rhodes Scholar since 1929.

Oliver joined St Mark’s in 2020 as a CAS Hawker Scholar, having completed his secondary education at St John’s Grammar School in Belair. He immediately threw himself into College life, showing his keen intellect in his Arts/Law studies at the University of Adelaide, and proving himself a force to be reckoned with on the sports field, winning College Club Colours for tennis and table tennis on several occasions and captaining both teams.

During his time at St Mark’s, Oliver has shown a deep and enduring commitment to service and leadership, serving the College and the wider community in a wide range of formal and informal ways. In his second year he served as President of the Charitable Foundation, the students’ community service organisation, which under his leadership expanded both its fundraising and volunteering activities. In his third year he served as Vice President of the College Club Committee and as President of the South Australian Association of University College Clubs (SAAUCC). Since then, Oliver has continued to serve the College Club, including initiating and leading a sub-committee to review the College Club Constitution.

Academically, Oliver is an outstanding, dedicated and determined student. In the final stages of his Honours year in History, Oliver has maintained outstanding grades and won numerous academic prizes. Within St Mark’s he has won the Jeremy & Timothy Pascoe Scholarship, awarded to an outstanding senior student, and the Don Laidlaw Prize, awarded to the most outstanding second year students. He has three times received the WF Wehrstedt Prize for the most outstanding student in the Arts and Humanities, as well as receiving the Harron Scholarship and numerous academic commendations. Academic prizes from the University of Adelaide include the John F. Kennedy Scholarship, Lynda Tapp Prize and Executive Dean’s Certificate.

Outside of St Mark’s, Oliver is deeply involved in a wide range of community activities. An elite level tennis player, he was the top-ranked under-18 male tennis player in South Australia in 2019, and reached an Australian ranking of 55 and a world ranking of 1054. An Army Reservist since 2019, last year Oliver was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Australian Army, receiving the Royal New South Wales Regiment Prize at his graduation dinner.

Oliver has served in a wide variety of leadership activities at the University of Adelaide, including serving as a Board Member of the Adelaide University Union and the Adelaide University Sport and Fitness Board, a Welfare Officer on the Student Representative Council, and Vice President of both the Adelaide University Entrepreneurs Club and the Adelaide University Table Tennis Club. He is also the Founding President of the St John’s Grammar School Old Scholars Association.

Not one to sit idle, Oliver has also pursued a range of research and professional development opportunities and internships. He has been an Assistant to Jack Batty MP, SA Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment, since 2022, worked as an intern for the Centre of Democracy (Adelaide) and for St Mark’s on our Profiles of St Mark’s Women project, and prepared a foundational research report on Australian housing for the Susan McKinnon Foundation. This is just a taste of the many and varied activities Oliver has been involved with during his undergraduate years.

Pursing postgraduate study in history at the University of Oxford represents the natural next step in Oliver’s academic journey. We warmly congratulate him, wish him the very best for his next academic adventure, and look forward to watching his accomplishments over the years to come.

You can learn more about the Rhodes Scholarship here.

Inspired to begin your own academic journey? You can find out more about the CAS Hawker Scholarship Program here, as well as the A. Simpson & Sons Scholarship and Robin Ashwin Scholarship offered by St Mark’s College here.

Are you a St Mark’s Old Collegian who is also considering studying at Oxford or Cambridge? Details about the 2024 round of the Ivan Shearer Scholarship will be released soon.

Oliver Douglas with Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, Chair of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee

Photos by @Photojo