University of Pittsburgh
April 18, 2006

Pitt Honors College Student Clayton Magill Wins Churchill Scholarship In Pitt's First Year of Competition for the Award

The Lititz, Pa., native plans to study quaternary science at the University of Cambridge
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-University of Pittsburgh Honors College senior Clayton Magill, an Arts and Sciences student majoring in chemistry and geology with a minor in German, has been named a Churchill Scholar by the Winston Churchill Foundation for his exceptional ability and outstanding academic achievement. This is the first year the University was invited to participate in the Churchill Scholarship competition; invited schools may nominate up to two candidates.

Magill, Pitt's only nominee, was one of 11 U.S. students selected for the award by the screening committee, comprising former Churchill Scholars from academia and industry. The committee places emphasis on academic achievement and promise for continued excellence in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics.

"The Churchill Scholarship promotes the exchange of knowledge and ideas between Great Britain and the United States," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "Created in honor of Sir Winston Churchill-Great Britain's distinguished orator, author, and former prime minister-the prestigious award publicly recognizes outstanding students, such as Clayton, whose high academic achievement, exceptional character, and concern for practical solutions to society's critical problems deserve special recognition."

"Clay will be a superb representative of the United States and the University at Cambridge," said Alec Stewart, Pitt's Churchill representative and Honors College dean. "His scope is compelling. It extends from professional level intellectual endeavors in chemistry and geology research to a modeling career and athletic triumphs on the mountain bike racing circuit. I'm not at all surprised that Clay won the Churchill following the foundation's gratifying invitation to the University to compete for this prestigious award."

Magill, who will graduate later this month, is completing the Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Pitt's Honors College. He is interested in the multidisciplinary paleoenvironmental study of lake sediments from the Limnes Basin in Western Crete and plans to study the Quaternary Science coursework at the University of Cambridge's Churchill College under the direction of Philip Gibbard, a noted authority in paleolimnology.

Magill has a passion for chemistry, viewing it as a science of color, energy, and movement. His research has included independent work in chemistry, in which he investigated chemical processes in the brain to learn more about Parkinson's disease. He also conducted fieldwork in Greece using geochemistry to study environmental variability to address threats to the environment. His work was completed under the direction of Arts and Sciences faculty Adrian Michael, associate professor in chemistry, and Michael Rosenmeier, assistant professor in geology and planetary sciences.

A dedicated volunteer, Magill is committed to helping others. He volunteers at the Jubilee Soup Kitchen, serving food and altering and repairing the clothing of the homeless; Point Prevention Pittsburgh, providing education and assistance to individuals with drug dependencies; Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, working as an art therapy counselor in the oncology ward; the Free Ride program in Wilkinsburg, teaching others to build bikes that are given away; and Pitt's Saturday Science program, tutoring urban youth in science.

While in high school, Magill trained as a cyclist and competed on the professional cycling circuit. He was one of the top-ranked junior cyclists in the United States, competing in a mountain bike race at the National Off-Road Bicycle Association's National One in Big Bear, Calif., in 2001. While in the United Kingdom, Magill plans to bike across England.

Established in 1963 at the recommendation of Winston Churchill, the Winston Churchill Foundation is the only organization in the United States that bears his name. The foundation's scholarship program offers American students of exceptional ability and outstanding academic achievement the opportunity to pursue one year of graduate studies in engineering, mathematics, or the sciences at Churchill College, the University of Cambridge. Colleges and universities are invited to participate based on their strength in science, mathematics, and technology.

The newest of the colleges at Cambridge, Churchill College was built in tribute to Winston Churchill, who in the years after World War II recognized the growing importance of science and technology for prosperity and security.