A KU student advanced to the final round of the Rhodes competition this weekend in Minneapolis, Minn.
Kansas University senior Jennifer Ford of Lawrence won't be home to tune in Friday for the "Mary Tyler Moore" show.
"A good day for me is when I get home by 9:30 to watch it," said Ford, who graduates in May with degrees in political science and religious studies.
Instead of being a couch potato, she'll be in Moore's television hometown -- Minneapolis -- for interviews Friday and Saturday with the committee selecting Rhodes Scholars.
Ford and Princeton student Matt Polly of Topeka were selected Wednesday to represent Kansas in the finals, which matches 14 nominees from seven Midwest states. Four Midwest scholarship winners will be selected Saturday night.
"In this kind of game you really have to celebrate at every level," Ford said today.
The other person nominated by KU for the coveted award, Alicia Arbaje of Osawatomie, didn't advance. She's a U.S. Department of Justice program analyst who graduated from KU in May.
"I thought they were both very strong," said Michael Young, director of KU's honors program. "Jennifer has already won a Truman scholarship. That gave her a certain edge."
Criteria for selection are high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.
The 32 Rhodes Scholars chosen this year from the United States will join an international group of scholars chosen from 17 other countries.
Ford, daughter of Allen and Joelle Ford, was recently named a 1994 EXCEL community service award winner at KU.
Her career goals involve working with domestic policy to encourage community-based approaches to treatment of social problems.
She would study the role churches have in development of communities, if she is awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study for two years at Oxford in England.
"My academic interest is the role of churches ... as an institution in which skills are learned, skills associated with volunteerism," Ford said.
Ford's volunteer work has led to many leadership positions in Lawrence and at KU. She co-founded a Teach for America-KU chapter to place students in local classrooms as teacher aides and she started Youth on Board, a program to get KU students in ex officio capacities on community and municipal boards.
She attributes her interest in public service to her parents, who taught her "that making an assist is more valuable than making a basket."