Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education , Vol. 20, No. 3
Star student and athlete Michael Lokale says his life has been filled with many blessings. And now, as the Virginia Military Institute's 10th Rhodes Scholar, the first classman is looking forward to yet another.
As one of only two Kenyans selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants for the prestigious Rhodes award, the scholarship will allow him to pursue graduate work in a college of the University of Oxford beginning next fall.
Lokale, the second of five children and eldest son of poor corn farmers living in Eldoret, Kenya, was inspired from an early age by the accomplishments of his cousin, Paul Ereng. Combining academic and athletic excellence, Ereng earned an athletic scholarship from the University of Virginia, where he excelled in track. Ereng won the gold medal for Kenya in the 800-meter run in the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, Korea.
"Paul is my great role model," said Lokale in an interview last year. "Paul realized that education and running could be a way to change his life. I've paid attention to his example."
Determined to follow in his cousin's footsteps, Lokale worked hard in the classroom and on the track. "I was fortunate to go to the best high school in Kenya. We were taught great study skills. When one does something every day, one gets used to it," he says. …