GS Student-Veteran Selected as Schwarzman Scholar

GS Student-Veteran Selected as Schwarzman Scholar

GS Student-Veteran Selected as Schwarzman Scholar

December 5, 2016

Christina Gray
(212) 851-4386


NEW YORK, December 5, 2016—GS student and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Andrew Ertl has been selected a Class of 2018 Schwarzman Scholar. He will receive a fully-funded scholarship to study at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing in pursuit of a master’s degree in global affairs.

“We are very pleased to have Andrew joining our class. Through his service as a United States Marine he has demonstrated the leadership qualities that define a Schwarzman Scholar, and we look forward to all that he will bring to the class of young leaders gathering in Beijing next August,” Rob Garris, Global Director of Admissions for the Schwarzman Scholars Program, said.

Ertl’s desire to participate in the Program was largely influenced by the six years he spent serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he witnessed firsthand the enormous social, political, and cultural consequences of war beyond the way they are sometimes viewed.

“I was deployed to war zones during my time in the military, and through these experiences I came to understand war’s effects on society in a more intimate way. There’s a tendency to only focus on those fighting on the ground—but the effects are much more far-reaching. My research at Tsinghua University will examine these effects. In particular, I am interested in examining how the People’s Liberation Army affects Chinese society, and vice versa,” Ertl said.

His decision to apply was also inspired by a persistent desire to understand how events that take place in a particular area can have effects that are felt worldwide. He sees the Program, which will surround him with likeminded peers who are interested in engaging with ideas concerning international affairs, as a way to further explore this line of inquiry.

“Andrew Ertl is an extraordinary student who has shown himself to be an energetic leader and a committed scholar. We are very pleased that he will join the community of Schwarzman Scholars next year to explore the history and politics of China at Tshinghua University, alongside a talented and globally-minded cohort of students from around the world. This opportunity will allow him to enhance his skills and knowledge as he prepares for a career in public policy and diplomacy,” Scott Carpenter, Associate Dean of Global Education and Fellowships for the Columbia Office of Global Programs, said.

Ertl is a member of the Dean’s List at the School of General Studies, and in 2015, was selected to participate in a fully-funded Study Tour in Japan for Columbia undergraduates, which was supported by a grant from the Japanese government. He will graduate this May with a degree in history. Upon completion of the Schwarzman Scholars Program, Ertl will pursue a career in foreign relations, with the hopes of contributing to conversations that transcend local, regional, and even national boundaries.  

Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in 2016.

The Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is the premier liberal arts college in the United States for nontraditional undergraduate students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League education, including those who have served in the U.S. and foreign militaries. Currently, more than 400 veterans are enrolled. GS students take the same courses, study with the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all other undergraduates at Columbia University.