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W&M alumnus wins Schwarzman Scholarship

  • Zhaoning Johnson Liu
    Zhaoning Johnson Liu '18:  He will enroll in the one-year program at Tsinghua’s Schwarzman College beginning in the fall of 2020.  Courtesy photo
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A William & Mary alumnus has earned an international graduate fellowship and will join rising leaders from around the world for a year of study in China.

Zhaoning Johnson Liu ’18 was named a Schwarzman Scholar and will pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He will enroll in the one-year program at Tsinghua’s Schwarzman College beginning in the fall of 2020.

Liu, who studied economics, government and international relations at W&M, was one of 145 recipients for the award and was chosen from a pool of more than 4,700 applicants. Schwarzman Scholars are selected based on their character and leadership qualities, as well as their academic success.

Launched in 2016, the Schwarzman program aims to build personal and professional relationships between China and the rest of the world. The scholarship gives recipients the opportunity to create professional networks and improve their leadership skills as they study China’s role as a growing world power.

While studying at Tsinghua Liu will have access to high-impact internships, career development resources, travel opportunities across China, and lectures by distinguished speakers. The Schwarzman curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature as scholars are able to choose elective courses from several academic fields.

Liu and the other Schwarzman Scholars will also complete a capstone project under the guidance of an academic advisor.

Professor of Government and Public Policy John McGlennon said he remembers meeting Johnson after giving a lecture about the American political system to international students.

“Almost immediately, I could sense that he was an unusual student, as he had a very good and sophisticated understanding of American Politics,” McGlennon said. “His interest was evident.”

Liu’s interest in politics is apparent in his adopted first name of Johnson, as Liu told McGlennon he is an admirer of President Lyndon Johnson. McGlennon said Liu is a compelling writer and speaker, adding he is not surprised to hear Liu was selected for the Schwarzman Scholarship after interviewing with panels of CEOs, university presidents and government officials.  

“I always found him to be intellectually curious, engaging and fun to talk to,” McGlennon said. “Johnson is always inquisitive, motivated to learn, especially on the subjects that interest him most.”