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John Robert Bizzell ′09

Hometown: Sikeston, Missouri
Major: Biology Major
Trivia: J.R. has been playing baseball since the age of 5. That means he’s been on the field for nearly 17 years of his life!

What made you decide to come to Rhodes?
I had a friend back in Missouri who went here and she highly recommended it to me. I came for a visit and loved it. The small classes, the feeling of everyone being so closely-knit, and the liberal arts education were all I needed to see. I applied Early Decision, got accepted, and the rest is history.

You’re Senior Captain of the Lynx Baseball Team. What has baseball done for you here at Rhodes?
Actually, there’s a funny story behind this. I’ve played baseball since I was five and planned on not playing in college. After someone gave the Coach Cleanthes an anonymous tip he invited me to his office to convince me to try out. He stressed to me that I could balance my academic coursework and play baseball at the same time. I believed him and tried out. I have to say it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made here.

Why do you say that?
Because it proved to me what I could do if I put my mind to it. If I want to play baseball and study Biology, then I can. Rhodes has taught me that not only can I balance the workload with the workouts, I can actually take things I’ve learned in class onto the field. The small class sizes and the discussion format have made me really open-minded. I’ve had to bump heads with people who think completely differently from me. Because of that, I’ve become a better team captain. I’m much less quick to judge and much more willing to analyze what everyone has to say.

You came here to study pre-med. Do you feel prepared for medical school?
I have to say that my plans have changed as a result of my experience here. I did think initially I would go the Pre-Med route and go on to live the life of a doctor. But, playing baseball here has shown me that my real passion is for sports. So I had what I guess I would call an “end of college identity crisis”. I’ve reflected on my time here and now I realize that Rhodes has prepared me to do whatever inspires me. Even though my degree might say Biology, the Rhodes seal––the symbol of my liberal arts background––reminds me that I am prepared to undertake anything I have a passion for. Now, instead of med school, I’m planning on going into sports representation and then on to law school.

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