Jack Taylor, 2018 Graduate
Hearing about his older brother Will's ('13) experience at Columbia University was a catalyst for Jack Taylor ('18) to pursue a liberal arts education at Harvard, his first major achievement after finishing school.
Jack, who was a boarder at Gowan Brae and Bishop Barker Harris House, really made a mark at King’s as Captain of Boats and School Monitor.
A gifted student, in 2015 Jack received the O.B.Elliot scholarship. He also won the Vicary Cardinal Prize for French, earned Academic Full Colours in 2017 and 2018, won the drama prize in 2017 and received an Onstage nomination. Then, in 2020 he received the Stanley Wilson Oxford Scholarship, which helped support his Harvard studies. Jack says winning the scholarship was an honour.
“Stanley Wilson had an enormous amount of courage and achieved a great deal. He received a doctorate in law from Oxford and was a barrister in London. He was sadly killed in action in World War two while commanding a mine sweeper in the Atlantic. So receiving the scholarship meant a lot because Stanley Wilson exemplifies great moral fibre. I hope to contribute to that tradition in some way,” he says.
Aside from completing his studies in history and literature, Jack was part of Harvard’s heavyweight rowing team for two years, which made life busy. He was also elected co-president of the Harvard Undergraduate Law Review and wrote articles for the Harvard Political Review, which allowed him to interview the President of the International Criminal Court and political prisoners.
During his time at Harvard, he commenced part-time work for a Boston federal judge, Mark Wolf, who is leading a movement to create an international anti-corruption court. Jack is still involved in this work.
Jack’s senior thesis, A Tale of Two Portraits: Uncovering the Artifice of the Lavoisiers (1774-1805) told the story of a portrait by Jacques-Louis David that was only recently discovered to be concealing another painting behind it. Completing this work involved collaborating with curators at the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and conducting research in archives in the United States and Paris. His time at Harvard was bookended by a great achievement when he won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, which is awarded for excellent undergraduate work, for this thesis.
Many of his classes at Harvard were small seminars of between five to ten students, which was an incredible way to learn. He was taught by renowned academics and professionals including Drew Faust, Carol Steiker, Samantha powers, and Cass Sunstein.
Jack is currently studying at Sciences Po in Paris to sit the prestigious French civil services exam. “I think I might be the only Australian to have done this degree, so it’s a unique experience, which has been fantastic. I really want to broaden my worldview and I’m starting to appreciate a European perspective,” he says.
Longer-term, Jack would like to return to the US to study law. He hopes eventually to have a career in geopolitics and foreign policy.
Reflecting on his time at the School, he is grateful for the friends who he worked with all to achieve their goals and the teachers and staff who wholeheartedly supported him, including David Woodgate, Simone Ostini, Michael Terzo, and Benjamin Chadwick.
Jack says King’s instilled in him the qualities of leadership, resilience and teamwork. He believes that having to manage the extreme demands of rowing with his academic goals taught him a great deal.
“Being a Kingsman goes back to Stanley Wilson’s example and the notion of having great moral fibre and courage. It’s an incredible opportunity to make the most of a great education and commit to a life of service and achievement.”