Schwarzman Scholars Appoints World-Renowned Scholar to be Executive Director

NEW YORK & BEIJING–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Schwarzman Scholars, the prestigious Master’s degree program at Tsinghua
University in Beijing, designed to educate future leaders about China,
today announced that Sir Nigel Thrift, the former Vice-Chancellor and
President of the University of Warwick, has been appointed Executive
Director. Dr. Thrift is one of the world’s leading human geographers,
and previously served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the
University of Oxford. In his role as Executive Director of Schwarzman
Scholars, Dr. Thrift brings the best of western academic excellence and
considerable experience leading academic institutions in the United
Kingdom. He is an accomplished academic leader with a unique knowledge
of student life and curriculum issues. Based in New York City, Dr.
Thrift will also spend considerable time in Beijing. In New York, he
will be responsible for global recruitment, marketing and fundraising
efforts and serve as an international ambassador for the program.

“We could not be more pleased to announce Sir Nigel’s appointment as
Executive Director,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, the program’s founder.
“The breadth of his academic and operational experience will serve
Schwarzman Scholars well as we prepare to welcome our first class and
continue to design and implement programmatic elements that will
challenge even the most talented future leaders. The groundwork having
been laid, we now welcome an experienced university leader who can help
us execute on a vision and build a program that will stand the test of

“The appointment of Sir Nigel Thrift as Schwarzman Scholars Executive
Director is a tremendous gain for the program,” said President Qiu Yong
of Tsinghua University. “Dr. Thrift’s strong academic reputation and
track record as a leader of a major university sets him apart and we are
looking forward to working with him. Together with my colleagues at
Tsinghua University, including Dean of Schwarzman Scholars, David Daokui
Li, I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

“I am very honored to accept the position of Schwarzman Scholars
Executive Director,” said Dr. Thrift. “The caliber of this
forward-thinking program’s inaugural class, its carefully crafted
curriculum and the many unique components designed to enrich student
life are a testament to the program’s ambitious vision and the talented
people associated with building it. I am thrilled to have the
opportunity to work with Steve Schwarzman, President Qiu Yong, Dean
David Daokui Li and the talented teams at Tsinghua University and
Schwarzman Scholars as we build on that foundation.”

Dr. Thrift is a Fellow of the British Academy. During his career, he has
received many academic awards including the Scottish Geographical
Society Gold Medal, the Royal Geographical Society Victoria Medal, and
Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the Association of American
Geographers, as well as honorary degrees form Bristol and Monash
Universities. As the Vice-Chancellor and President of Warwick
University, he was responsible for a step change in the University’s
performance. In particular, he was heavily involved in numerous
internationalization initiatives.

Schwarzman Scholars recently announced its inaugural class of 111
scholars. Drawn from more than 3,000 applicants, the program is one of
the most selective in the world with an acceptance rate of 3.7%. This
first class is composed of students from 32 countries and 75
universities who will matriculate at Schwarzman College in fall 2016.

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 2016. Learn more at,
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For Schwarzman Scholars
Christine Anderson
+1 646-313-6500
(m) +1 917-697-8795