Graduate Education and The Alberta B. and Sidney E. Holaday Scholarship

Our Oxford Connection

In 2003 the Dakota Foundation established and endowed a scholarship at the U.S. Air Force Academy, which annually sends a top Academy graduate to Exeter College at England’s Oxford University for two years of graduate study. The scholarship each year enables a top-ranking cadet who competes for, but does not receive, a Rhodes Scholarship, to do his or her graduate work at Oxford.

To date, thirteen outstanding young men and women have benefited from the Alberta Bart Holaday Scholarship, which was originally named in honor of Bart Holaday’s mother, a Colorado native and longtime resident of Jamestown, N.D. Holaday, a Rhodes Scholar himself from 1965-68, credits his mother, a former English teacher, with impressing upon him as a young man, “that education and life are synonymous.”

After Alberta Bart Holaday's death on August 26, 2012, at the age of 95 ½, the Dakota Foundation and her children amended the agreement for the Sidney E. Holaday Scholarship at the University of Jamestown (North Dakota), which was established in memory of Bart Holaday’s father, to rename it to the Sidney Earl and Alberta Frances (Bart) Holaday Scholarship. In a like manner, on June 17, 2013, the agreement with Exeter College was amended to rename the Alberta Bart Holaday Scholarship to the Alberta B. and Sidney E. Holaday Scholarship. Thus, both scholarships now honor both parents.

Sidney Earl and Alberta Bart Holaday

Following his graduation from the Air Force Academy, Holaday spent three years at Exeter College, earning a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics. At the Academy he was an economics major.

In establishing the scholarship, Holaday was inspired by the vision of the late Cecil Rhodes who sought to reward young men and women “who demonstrate literary and scholastic attainments, energy to use one’s talents to the full.”

Rhodes believed that these talented individuals also are exemplified by “a fondness for and success in sports, a devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship, moral force of character and instincts to lead and take an interest in one’s fellow beings.”

Holaday views his own Oxford experience as having provided “an invaluable global perspective” thanks to the university’s location, its international student body and its stellar faculty. “I believe such global understanding is crucial for future Air Force leaders,” he said.

Exeter College, which celebrates its 700th anniversary in 2014, enthusiastically welcomes the young scholars who have come its way via the Holaday Scholarship and who have entered fully into the life of the college. They are as follows:

Exeter College, University of Oxford


Alberta B. and Sidney E. Holaday Scholars

2003 – Justin C. Bronder

2004 – Katie Dildy Goossen

2005 – Andrew J. Sellers

2006 – Michael A. Cole

2007 – Erin A. Finger

2008 – Ian K. Helms

2009 – Roni Yadlin

2010 – Bradford D. Waldie

2011 – Jenny A. Bandi

2012 – John W. Nickerson

2013 – Zachary S. Esau

2014 – Kari Baker

2015 – Stephen Beaton

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Soft Landing:  From the U.S. Air Force to Exeter (Erin Finger reflects on her time at Exeter so far)