PATH TO THE RHODES Prince Abudu’s Journey from a Small African Farm, Through Morehouse, and on to Oxford University
By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
ANNY BELLINGER, the former director of admissions at Morehouse returned from a trip to Africa to meet with the first group of students in the Andrew Young International Scholars Program during the summer of 2012. With a wide smile on his face, he said, “This is a great group. I promise you, there is a Rhodes Scholar in this group.” Turns out Bellinger was right in his prediction. Prince Abudu ’16 became the College’s fourth Rhodes Scholar, and the first to major in a STEM discipline, when he was chosen as the representative from Zimbabwe in late 2015. It’s an honor that Abudu said he has always hoped to achieve. “This would not have been possible without the support of my family in Zimbabwe and the new family that I have been blessed with at Morehouse College. This is an opportunity that I have dreamed of all my life.” Abudu was always one of the better students when he was in school in Zimbabwe. He grew up on a small farm in Chegutu, Zimbabwe where his mother made $40 a week.
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“I was good in every subject,” Abudu said. “I was the top student in English; I was the top student in native language honors, history, math and physics. “My teacher told me that I should pursue physics in college.” But in computer science, I was probably second or third best. It wasn’t my strong point. A computer science project changed that. A teacher asked him to create a computer system. He created a video library system that tracked customers coming in for books. Then his older brother gave him a computer, something hardly any of his classmates had to call their own. “It was very, very old, but it got the job done,” Abudu said. “It actually had Windows XP. But it got the job done and it changed my interest.” When it was time to choose a college, Abudu jumped at the chance to apply for the Andrew Young International Scholarship. The scholarship is provided by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyimwa (see related article on page 37) through their Higherlife Foundation, which helps educate African children. The Morehouse tradition and a strong legacy of science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching was a huge draw, he said. When he got to Morehouse, he
immediately dove into his studies. He also gained an early mentor in Kara Walker, the College’s director of Web and Social Media. Finding out that he was a computer science major, she put him to work building web pages and sites for the Office of Strategic Communications. “Right now, one of my most powerful areas in computer science is building web sites and doing databases for them,” he said. “That started my freshman year with Ms. Walker.” Abudu also found time during his Morehouse years to co-found an organization called Emergination Africa that allows college-aged students to mentor young people in Africa. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s in science in computer science and an MBA at Oxford University in England. Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79 said that Abudu entered Morehouse with the tools to succeed. “He arrived at Morehouse with no small degree of raw intelligence, grit, and a clear and compelling determination to succeed,” Wilson said. “He has developed into the iconic Morehouse Man who is academically, socially and spiritually equipped to lead and do consequential things in the world.” n