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Larry Liam Ching Liu


The Cooke Foundation recently established an unprecedented partnership with Lincoln College at the University of Oxford to help one outstanding student each year pursue a graduate degree. As one of the most renowned institutions in the world, the opportunities it offers are virtually endless, especially for high-achieving, low-income students.  

We are very pleased to introduce you to Larry Liam Ching Liu, our first-ever Cooke Oxford Scholar. Larry is the son of immigrant parents who are of Chinese descent but were born and raised in India, and Larry was born in Austria and lived there until he immigrated with his parents to the United States six years ago at the age of 17.

The family’s decision to come to America was inspired by Larry’s mother having received an education at an American-financed school in India. She aspired to go to medical school and become a doctor, but she lacked the funds necessary to do so. It was very important to her that her sons not be prevented from pursuing their dreams, and the family moved to Northeast Philadelphia to pursue an American education. Larry graduated from high school and then enrolled at the Community College of Philadelphia. Larry was invited to join the honors program there, and in May of 2012, he received his associate’s degree, having earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

He received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and matriculated to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and economic policy.

Now he intends to use his Cooke Oxford Award to earn an MSc in comparative social policy before pursuing a Ph.D. at Princeton University as a Cooke Graduate Scholar.

“I have a strong interest in the social sciences, in the way humans interact in society, and want to dedicate my career to researching and teaching the economic, and also the social and political, aspects of human behavior and interaction,” Larry explained.

Larry plans to investigate politically and economically driven questions and sees himself delving into the dealings of financial markets, large corporations, and small business enterprises. He is also intrigued with topics in political science, economic sociology, economic history, political philosophy, and other related areas. When he isn’t in class, he reads literature in several disciplines and writes graduate-level papers for independent study.

The truth is Larry has more academic interests than we have space to describe here, and it seems he’s always adding more. Click here if you would like to read about Larry’s opinions on his excellent, well-informed blog.

There is no doubt that Larry will put his ideas into action one day, in whatever corner of the world he journeys to after Oxford and Princeton, because he has a strong sense of community.

“No one on this earth can be successful without the help of his or her community,” he explains, “even though our individualist society might indicate such.”

He certainly integrated quickly into the Cooke community of scholars.

It will probably be surprising to learn that someone who is now so ambitious actually had relatively modest expectations for many years. While most boys want to grow up to be astronauts, football players, or police officers, when Larry was a child in Austria his goal was to become a bus driver. Of course, he has studied and written about transportation issues on occasion, so that interest is still being put to use in one way or another.

We can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at Oxford this fall. Congratulations, Larry!

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