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Curtin student named WA’s 2018 Rhodes Scholar

Media release

Curtin University graduate Robert Ferritto will take his dream to create universal access to clean water and sanitation to Oxford University after being named the winner of the 2018 Rhodes Scholarship for Western Australia today.

It is only the second time that a Curtin graduate has been awarded this scholarship. The last time was in 1994.

Mr Ferritto, who has completed First-class Honours in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) at Curtin University, will start a Master of Philosophy (Water Science, Policy and Management) at the University of Oxford next year.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated Mr Ferritto for his outstanding achievement on being selected for the oldest international graduate scholarship in the world.

“Mr Ferritto’s selection as a winner of the 2018 Rhodes Scholarship is testament to the exemplary standard of his tertiary education, as well as his strong leadership and volunteering qualities through his involvement in the John Curtin Leadership Academy and Curtin Volunteers,” Professor Terry said.

“The Rhodes Scholarships support outstanding all-round students to study at the University of Oxford and I am delighted Mr Ferritto will be joining an impressive list of leading Australians who have previously been awarded the prestigious scholarship.”

Mr Ferritto, 23, said he was honoured to be awarded the prestigious scholarship, adding it would help him achieve his passion to create universal access to clean water and sanitation.

“This is an incredible opportunity that will help me chase after my dream to help others,” Mr Ferritto said.

“When families lack access to clean water in developing nations and remote Australia, children – particularly females – surrender their education, childhood and safety, to collect water and help their families survive.

“When communities lack sanitation, the vulnerable do not survive. My dream is to make access to clean water and sanitation universal, to even out people’s circumstances of birth and grant society’s most vulnerable the basic rights and opportunities I have.”

Established in 1903 under the will of Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is considered among the most prestigious international graduate scholarship programs in the world.

Of the nine scholarships awarded each year in Australia, each state is awarded one scholarship, as well as three Australia-at-large scholarships.

Pictured: The 2018 Rhodes Scholar for Western Australia, Curtin University’s Robert Ferritto, with Her Excellency the Hon Kerry Sanderson AC, Governor of WA, and Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, National Secretary, Rhodes Australia.