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Ralph H. Smith II Elected President of Association of American Rhodes Scholars
First Alabama President in History of the Organization
September 27, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, September 27, 2016Ralph H. Smith II, President and CEO of the Ralph Smith Group LLC and special counsel with Jones Walker LLP, has been elected President of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars (AARS). He is the first Alabama Rhodes Scholar to lead the prestigious organization. 

"Ralph has been an integral part of the success of AARS, leading some of our most challenging work. I am delighted to pass the President's torch to Ralph, as I know that the greater Rhodes community will benefit from his strong leadership," said Steve Crown, the Immediate Past President of AARS and Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation. 

Mr. Smith, currently the Vice President, has served on the board of AARS since 2006. He is also responsible for the annual Rhodes Scholarship selections in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the American Caribbean. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he received an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. 

"Studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar was a life-changing experience. I am honored to serve both the university and the Rhodes Scholarships by being elected to lead the American Rhodes Scholar community," said Mr. Smith.

Ralph Smith served for almost a decade as General Counsel and a Member of the Chancellor's Senior Policy Staff at The University of Alabama System, where he also taught and advised on international initiatives. A corporate and business transactions lawyer by training, Mr. Smith attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1973 to 1976 and helped launch in 2012 the Global Innovation Alliance, a consortium of business, government, and academic institutions to promote innovation and economic development. He was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 to the Order of St. John, an Order of Chivalry of the British Crown with historical roots in the 11th century. In 2015, Mr. Smith was named a Distinguished Friend of Oxford by Oxford University.

"The trustees and the Warden are delighted Ralph has been elected President of AARS and very much look forward to working with him and his colleagues in the period ahead," said Sir John Hood, Chairman of the Rhodes Trust and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

About AARS and the Rhodes Scholarships
The AARS ( was founded in 1907 and today has a membership of more than 2,100 Rhodes Scholars elected from or currently living in the USA. The mission of AARS is to bring Rhodes Scholars in America together in support of the Rhodes Scholarships, Oxford University and the qualities of scholarship, leadership and service that underlie the awards. The AARS publishes a highly acclaimed journal, The American Oxonian, promotes reunions and events, and administers charitable trusts supporting Oxford University and the distinguished Eastman Professorship at Oxford.

The Rhodes Scholarships ( were created in 1902 and are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world, providing students from the USA and 44 other countries with postgraduate education at Oxford University. Today there are more than 4,800 Rhodes Scholars worldwide.

About Jones Walker
Jones Walker LLP ( is among the 120 largest law firms in the United States, serving local, regional, national, and international business interests with offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and Texas. The firm is committed to providing a comprehensive range of legal services to major multinational, public and private corporations, Fortune® 500 companies, money center banks, worldwide insurers, and emerging companies doing business in the United States and abroad. 

About The Ralph Smith Group LLC
The Ralph Smith Group LLC ( provides strategic consulting services to business and higher education institutions worldwide.