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Truman Scholarship: Wikis


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President Harry S. Truman

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is a federal scholarship granted to U.S. college juniors for demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service. According to the Washington Post, the Truman Scholarship's "sole aim is to pick out people with potential to become leaders—then provide support to help them realize their aspirations." [1]

Congress created the scholarship in 1975 as a living memorial to the 33rd president of the United States. Instead of a statue, the Truman Scholarship is the official federal memorial to its namesake president.



On May 30, 1974, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri sponsored S.3548,[2] formally titled "A bill to establish the Harry S. Truman Memorial Scholarships." Symington held the same Class 1 Senate seat that Truman had held from 1935-1945 before becoming Vice President. The Senate passed the bill on August 2, and the House followed suit on December 17. Two similar House bills, H.R.15138[3] sponsored by William J. Randall of Missouri and H.R.17481[4] sponsored by James G. O'Hara of Michigan, were set aside in favor of Symington's bill.

The bill was signed by President Gerald Ford and enacted as Public Law 93-642 on January 4, 1975 and entered the as United States Statutes at Large as 88 Stat. 2276-2280, and the United States Code as 20 U.S.C. 2001-2013[5]. It now operates as Program 85.001, governed by 45 CFR 1801[6] as published in the Code of Federal Regulations in the Federal Register.


The Truman Scholarship is administered by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, an independent federal executive branch agency. It is governed by a 13-member Board of Trustees headed by President Madeleine Albright, who says the foundation "serves as a gateway for America's public service leaders" and "does a remarkable job of identifying future change agents." Eight board members are appointed by the U.S. President, including a state governor, a city or county chief executive, a federal judge, a state judge, a representative of higher education, and three members of the public. The remainder of the board comprises two Senators, two Representatives, and the United States Secretary of Education (ex-officio). [7] The Foundation's operations are overseen by full-time Executive Secretary Frederick G. Slabach. Its endowment, which takes the form of a federal trust fund held in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is $55 million.


The scholarship is awarded to approximately 60-65 U.S. college juniors each year on the basis of four criteria [8]: service on campus and in the community, commitment to a career in public service (government, uniformed services, research, education, or public interest/advocacy organizations), communication ability and aptitude to be a "change agent," and academic talent that would assure acceptance to a first-rate graduate school. More broadly, Truman Scholars possess intellect, leadership skills, and passion that would make them a likely force for the public good in any field. [9]

Application process

Candidates are selected after completing a written application and a finalist interview. Roughly six hundred to seven hundred students are nominated by their college or university and up to 60 are selected.[10] Schools can nominate up to four students as well as up to three transfer students. No particular career, service interest, or policy field is preferred during the process. Each year, the Truman Scholarship is awarded to one or two students from institutions that have never had a Truman Scholar.[11]


Scholars currently receive an award of $30,000 going toward up to three years of graduate education leading to a career in the public service.[12] Winners also benefit from a network of other scholars through the Truman Scholars Association and lasting friendship, which is encouraged by the Truman Scholars Leadership Week at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, and the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, during which newly minted scholars collaborate on policy projects. Following their senior year, more than half of scholars accept a 10-week Summer Institute internship in Washington, D.C., which features additional professional development training. Of this group, a small number continue federal agency internships for a full year as part of the Truman Albright Fellows program.

Certain graduate and professional schools give some degree of priority and funding to applicants who are Truman Scholars. Truman Scholars are exempt from taking the written section of the U.S. Foreign Service Exam.

Notable Truman Scholars

See also: Truman Scholars category






External links


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