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Ogden Senior Makes History as LSU's First Knight-Hennessy Scholar

Taylor Goss, a Lacassine, Louisiana native, has been selected for the 2021 cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, making him the first in LSU's history. 

This year's cohort consists of 76 new scholars, with students from 26 countries, pursuing degrees in 37 graduate degree programs across all seven of Stanford's graduate schools. Goss will be pursuing a master's degree in music, science, and technology at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences.

The program strives to develop transformational leaders who have a strong cross-cultural perspective, create a bold vision for the future, inspire others through their words and actions, and are committed to a greater good. Goss aspires to connect musicians and policymakers, using the arts to communicate societal needs and provoke policy change.

"At a time when humanity faces difficult challenges ranging from the pandemic to climate change to racial justice, we are delighted to welcome a set of scholars determined to contribute to finding solutions and making a better world," said John L. Hennessy, president emeritus and the Shriram Family Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.

Goss entered LSU as one of ten Stamps Scholars who receive the highest academic scholarship at LSU. An Ogden Honors student, Goss is pursuing dual degrees in music and entrepreneurship, and he was selected as a Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholar, which is designed to address issues affecting Louisiana, such as poverty and coastal wetland loss.  

Goss has helped build the art-driven, storytelling medium Coastal Voices, a humanities initiative committed to telling the stories of coastal residents and their experiences of wetland loss. As part of the initiative, he created a podcast to capture the voices of coastal residents as they told their stories and personal narratives of climate change, contributing his musical skills to the endeavor. 

“Arts and policy can work together,” Goss asserts. For his Honors thesis, Composing Activism: Case Studies in Artist Advocacy, Goss wanted to investigate how to convince people to understand that art is an effective medium of social communication or policy advocacy. He created a podcast series inspired by the work he did with Coastal Voices. It is a compilation of conversations with people and research on the intersection of political activism and art. He edited podcast episodes centered around interviews with activist artists about their methodologies so the public can hear their stories.

“Taylor has taken a creative and thoughtful approach to the interdisciplinary education the Honors College offers students,” said Granger Babcock, Ogden Honors College associate dean and co-director of the LASAL Scholars Program. “I can’t think of a more fitting end to his distinguished career as an Ogden student than to receive a Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. He will change this state and the world.”  

In his time at LSU, Goss also advocated for campus sustainability in student government, interned for the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation. He was a finalist in the 2021 Rhodes Scholarship competition. Goss is a May 2021 graduate, graduating with College Honors from LSU with bachelor's degrees in music from the College of Music and Dramatic Arts and entrepreneurship from the E.J. Ourso College of Business.