Gavin Baird is the first Fresno State student to be awarded the prestigious Marshall Scholarship that will enable him to study in the United Kingdom next year. A Fresno native, Baird is a senior political science major and economics minor.

The highly competitive Marshall Scholarship is a British government-financed program that selects scholars from across the United States to study in England and serve as ambassadors for relations between the two countries.

Gavin, who was among the 31 Marshall Scholarship winners nationwide, will study International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He said he plans on analyzing political responses to mass migration.

“My ultimate goal is to help create laws that improve both the lives of immigrant and native populations,” said the Edison High graduate. “Getting the Marshall Scholarship feels like the beginning of a life-changing experience. It’s great to know that the Marshall Foundation thinks that I am worth the investment and that they believe in who I am and what I’m doing.”

According to Dr. Bradley Hart, assistant professor of Mass Communication and Journalism, Baird is only the fifth student in the CSU 23-campus system to receive this scholarship in its  60-plus year history..

“Winning the Marshall Scholarship is a tremendous achievement and reflects Gavin’s outstanding work as a student and his immense potential,” Hart said.

San Francisco Consul General Priya Guha said she was pleased that over 15 percent of the winners came from West Coast universities.

“The quality and diversity of candidates was outstanding,” Guha said. “It shows the high level of education and talent in Pacific Northwest universities, and the desire to study in the U.K., which shares with the U.S. the top universities in the world. I will be excited to track the progress of these winners, and how they will contribute to the excellent relations between the U.K. and U.S.”

The Marshall Scholarship program began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the U.S. for the assistance that the U.K. received after World War II under the Marshall Plan.

More than 1,500 young Americans have become Marshall Scholars and prominent alumni include: inventor Ray Dolby, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, founder Patrick Byrne, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Tom Friedman of the New York Times and Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post, and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit.

For information about the scholarship, contact Tony Jenks at the British Consulate General in San Francisco at 415.617.1378 or, or check the Marshall Scholarship website at Contact Hart at 559.278.1160.

(University Communications news assistant Jodi Raley contributed to this report).