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British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald applauded this year’s class of Marshall scholars Monday, as the American college students prepared to leave for Britain to attend two years of university studies.

“These extraordinarily talented students will join the ranks of other Marshall scholars before them who have excelled in all walks of life and are vital to maintaining the strong relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States,” he told the 40 students who received the scholarships.

The program, created by the British Parliament, was named for Gen. George C. Marshall, who served as Army chief of staff during World War II and as secretary of state and defense after the war. As secretary of state, Gen. Marshall devised the Marshall Plan to reconstruct postwar Europe.

The students also met with Rep. John M. Spratt Jr., South Carolina Democrat, who attended Oxford University as a Marshall scholar in 1966.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail