PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Temple University grad is making history as the school’s first ever Rhodes Scholar. The young man’s roots are grounded in North Philadelphia.
“My story is one of looking at what opportunities have been presented,” said 23-year-old Hazim Hardeman.
Hardeman changed forever this weekend when he was named one of 32 Rhodes Scholars.
“I went through the whole spectrum of happiness to sadness,” he said.
It was so emotional because his road to Oxford University began in Philadelphia at 23rd and Diamond Streets, with a tough decision by his mom, Gwen, to falsify their address to get Hardeman into a better public school.
“It was really a matter of life and death. It was that simple.”
That decision was a game changer, which set this Eagles fan on a path to becoming an intellectual, like role models Cornell West and Marc Lamont Hill.
“Through her choice I was put into certain spaces so I could develop certain skills,” Hardeman said.
After a rough time in high school, Hardeman landed at Community College of Philadelphia, where he excelled, and later at Temple where he graduated magna cum laude and applied for the Rhodes Scholarship — with distant hope.
“It just doesn’t happen for people who look like me, I thought,” he said.
Hardeman is now one of 10 African-American Scholars; the largest number in any class….and the first ever from Temple, thanks to family, his mother, brother and mentors.
“They’ve always supported me in everything that I’ve done,” he said.
And they’ll support him as he heads to Oxford to get his master degree next October in what this future professor of education calls a major win.
“It’s a big win for my whole family,” Hardeman said. “It’s a big win for North Philly.”