Hamilton College President Eugene M. Tobin announced today that Victor Rodriquez, a senior from the Bronx, N.Y., has been selected the winner of the 1997 Bristol Fellowship.

Rodriquez will spend a year studying the roots and the steps of the Brazilian martial art dance form called the Capoeira. The Capoeira has its roots in African slave culture and is a very athletic, highly formalized martial arts dance performed to music. During his year abroad, Rodriquez will study's the dance's roots in Brazil and in the Caribbean.

The Bristol Fellowship for International Travel was created by the family of William M. Bristol, Jr., a 1917 Hamilton graduate. It is designed to encourage discovery of self and the world, to ensure greater appreciation and understanding of people and culture, and to enable individuals to act on great ideas through a year-long program of study outside the United States, according to Katheryn Doran, associate professor of philosophy at Hamilton and on-campus coordinator of the selection committee.

"It is through the application process," Doran said, "and then living and learning abroad for one year that the Fellowship hopes to foster the passion in learning about the world, the self-confidence to develop an idea fully, and the self-reliance to pursue it."

The first winner of the award, Philip Poh, has spent the past year in Hong Kong creating a cartoon-illustrated account of the transition of the British colony to China. His work is a traditional Chinese storytelling form that blends text with detailed illustrations.

Fellowship winners receive a grant to support themselves for a year abroad studying an area of special interest. Proposals are reviewed by a committee and are judged on the spirit of inquisitiveness and the potential for adventure that they demonstrate.

William Bristol, Jr. was the son of a founder of the Bristol-Myers Company. He worked for 40 years for the company, heading the international division at the time of his retirement. Mr. Bristol was a great friend of Hamilton, serving on the Board of Trustees and as president of the Alumni Association. Through his work at Bristol-Myers and into retirement, Mr. Bristol traveled widely and believed strongly in the importance of learning languages and experiencing different cultures. The Fellowship is a living tribute to that spirit, Doran said.

Hamilton is a highly selective, residential college that offers its 1,650 students a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. It is the third oldest college in New York State and is named in honor of U.S. statesman Alexander Hamilton, a charter trustee of the college's predecessor, the Hamilton-Oneida Academy.

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