Whittier College produced four Rhodes scholars between 1962 and 1995. Three were Black.

February 22, 2024

What do former President Bill Clinton, Paralympian Bonnie St. John, astronomer Edwin Hubble, and musician Kris Kristofferson have in common? All were Rhodes scholars.

One of the world's oldest and most prestigious international scholarship programs, Rhodes scholars are selected for their academic achievements and their character. Four Whittier College alumni have received the distinguished scholarship, which annually sends 32 students from the U.S. to Oxford University to study for two years. In honor of Black History Month, and thanks to research by Erle Collins and the Whittier College Black Alumni Association, learn about three of the four Whittier College recipients.

J. Stanley Sanders ’63, J.D.

J. Stanley Sanders '63, center, stands with his daughters Alexandria and Chelsea. Sanders was the first Rhodes scholar from Whittier College.On Dec. 15, 1962, Sanders became the first Rhodes scholar from Whittier College, and the second Black student in the history of the program. An attorney and former Los Angeles mayoral candidate, Sanders was the student body president, an outstanding political science student, and an All-American football player while at Whittier College, catching a total of 93 passes during his three years on the varsity team for a total of 1,703 yards and 21 touchdowns.

After attending law school at Yale, he returned to Whittier to serve on the board of trustees. Sanders said he owes his career trajectory to attending Whittier during the Civil Rights Movement.

“I formed my solid intention to go to law school and to become a political activist and lawyer at Whittier College,” he said. “That environment spawned that intention that held up through my post-college experiences. It began at Whittier.”

Darrell Walker ’76, J.D.

Darrell Walker ’76, J.D.Walker ’76 was the second Rhodes scholar in the College’s history and earned a master’s degree in economics at Oxford University after studying political science at Whittier. He went on to earn a J.D. at Stanford Law School and was a member of the California Bar Association. 

During his prolific time as an undergraduate, Walker played football for three years, was the editor of the Quaker Campus, and was active with the Black Student Union. In 2016, he became a member of the Whittier College Board of Trustees.

Walker passed away in 2019 at the age of 65.

Malaika (Williams) Amneus ’96, M.D.

Malaika (Williams) Amneus ’96, M.D. is pictured during the 1996 Whittier College commencement in this page from the Fall 1996 issue of The Rock.Amneus is the most recent Rhodes scholar from Whittier, and second woman, following Pamela (Hill) Park ’89. Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Amneus always knew she wanted to be a physician.

Amneus attended medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles after studying at Oxford, and found her calling in gynecologic oncology. She served as the director of the gynecology division at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center prior to joining the Kaiser Permanente family.

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