Alumnus Jordan Kronen '14 Named 2017-2018 Schwarzman Scholar

A Pacific University alumnus is among just 129 selected from more than 2,700 candidates as a 2017-2018 Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. 

Jordan Kronen '14, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in politics and government and went on to teach in Malaysia through a Fulbright award, is Pacific's first honoree in the two-year-old Schwarzman program, modeled after the University of Oxford's Rhodes Scholarship.

Schwarzman Scholars is a master’s degree program founded by Blackstone Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman. The Scholars' second class is comprised of students from 30 countries and 75 universities with 45 percent from the United States, 20 percent from China, and 35 percent from the rest of the world. 

Through a transformative academic and experiential curriculum, Kronen and fellow Schwarzman Scholars will help shape the program in its early years. In doing so, the class of 2018 will gain an intimate understanding of China and its role in the world. Studies commence next August at Tsinghua, where scholars will engage with global leaders on the most pressing challenges and develop a deep network of relationships with current and future leaders. 

Kronen and the other 128 scholars will focus their studies on either public policy, economics and business or international studies, and spend a year immersed in an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In an environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they will learn from one another and pursue their academic disciplines while building their leadership capacities. The Schwarzman Scholars experience will expand students’ understanding of the world and create a growing network of global leaders for the future.

Originally from Olympia, Wash., Kronen was an active member of the Pacific University community as an undergraduate student from 2010-14. He competed as a member of the Boxers' football team, worked in the university's Financial Aid Office and the Center for Civic Engagement, served on the Student Conduct Board, co-founded the College Democrats of Oregon, served as a field director for Environment Oregon and interned for Suzanne Bonamici's Congressional campaign and the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.

Upon graduation, Kronen interned for United States Senator Jeff Merkley in Washington, where he worked primarily on environmental and educational legislation. He then spent 15 months traveling to and living in 17 countries, including Israel, Thailand, Japan, India and several others to engage in legal aid and legal education matters, as well as community education efforts for single mothers at a domestic violence shelter.

During this timeframe, Kronen's Fulbright award took him to Malaysia, where he taught English to students age 12 to 17 in Kelantan, one of the Malaysia's most homogenous, rural and impoverished states. As an English Teaching Assistant, one of Kronen's primary responsibilities was to administer "English Camps," most of which take place within the country's borders.

"I wanted to expand the horizons of some of my students who had never been outside of Malaysia," Kronen said. So he devised a plan to take five of them to Bali, Indonesia for a conference that was being put on by BABSEACLE, an organization Kronen externed with while in Thailand.

Kronen and his mentor in Malaysia successfully fundraised for the students' passports, airfare, lodging and food. Kronen persuaded BABSEACLE to waive the students' registration fees to make the trip a reality. The international English camp at the conference was just the second in Fulbright Malaysia's history, and the first from the state of Kelantan.

"It was a truly life-changing experience for the students as they flew on a plane and traveled to another country for the first time," he said. "They also had a chance to interact with native English speakers and other people from all over the world and learn about the legal profession."

Kronen's efforts in Malaysia are just the latest in his pursuit to reform education policies around the world while strengthening intercultural understanding and exchange.

"The Schwarzman Scholarship is something I care deeply about because its most fundamental reason for existing is to bring better understanding and cooperation between China, the US and the rest of the world," Kronen said. "Strengthening cultural understanding was at the heart of my Fulbright experience and is at the core of my consciousness every time I travel to a new country."

Kronen and other Schwarzman Scholars were selected through a rigorous and thorough selection process designed to evaluate leadership experience and potential, intellectual and academic ability, including the capacity to understand emerging trends, design solutions, and inspire others to a vision, as well as strength of character. Applications were reviewed by a distinguished team of readers from around the world with 373 semi-finalists invited for in-person interviews in Beijing, Bangkok, London or New York before international panels composed of CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives, journalists and other leaders.

This distinguished group of interviewers who were responsible for selecting the Class of 2018 included Jared Cohen, Founder and President, Jigsaw, Alphabet Inc., David Petraeus, Former Director of the CIA, Brian Mulroney, Former Prime Minister of Canada, Jeremy Wright, Attorney General for England and Wales, Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather, Rona Fairhead, Chairman of the BBC Trust, Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte, Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, and many others. Of the applicants offered acceptance into the program, 97% will join the new class, representing a higher acceptance yield than the most competitive U.S. business and law schools.

The scholarship is fully funded for all participants, including travel costs and a personal stipend, and is supported by the program’s endowment which is expected to total $450 million, with $435 million raised to date. Scholars will live and study together at Schwarzman College, the dedicated state-of-the-art academic and residential building built exclusively for the program.

About Schwarzman Scholars
Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 Scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in September 2016.

Friday, Dec. 2, 2016