Harry S. Truman Scholarship

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President Harry S. Truman

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive federal scholarship granted to U.S. college juniors for demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service.

The scholarship, in the amount of $30,000, is to go towards a graduate education. 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. 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]

Each year, approximately 600 undergraduates receive the nomination of their universities to apply, of whom between 55–60 candidates will be selected for the scholarship, for an acceptance rate of approximately 10%.[2]


On May 30, 1974, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri sponsored S.3548,[3] 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[4] sponsored by William J. Randall of Missouri and H.R.17481[5] 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 United States Statutes at Large as 88 Stat. 2276–2280, and the United States Code as 20 U.S.C. 2001–2013.[6] It now operates as Program 85.001, governed by 45 CFR 1801[7] as published in the Code of Federal Regulations in the Federal Register.


Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

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." [8] The Foundation's operations are overseen by full-time Executive Secretary Dr. Andrew Rich. Its endowment, which takes the form of a federal trust fund held in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is $55 million. Current Board members include Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Claire McCaskill, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Congressman Charlie Dent, and Congressman Ted Deutsch.


The scholarship is awarded to approximately 55-65 U.S. college juniors each year on the basis of four criteria:[9] 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.[10]

Application process[edit]

In order to apply for the scholarship, students must first win the nomination of their undergraduate university. Each undergraduate institution in the United States is allowed to nominate up to four students who have attended since freshman year, along with three transfer students. After nomination, annually the Foundation receives 600 applications, of whom between 55-60 will be selected each year.[2] Each nominated application is then examined by a regional review panel, which selects finalists to interview. The interviews are conducted by panels of former Truman scholars, trustees of the board, and notable national public servants. These panelists then make final selections of scholarship winners, generally attempting to choose one from each of the 50 states. 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]


Truman Scholars Association

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 new scholars collaborate on policy projects. 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 jobs 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. Scholars also automatically become part of the Truman Scholars Association, the independent alumni association that works to foster additional opportunities and networking for Scholars.

Notable Truman Scholars[edit]

See also: Truman Scholars category






  • Michael Dakduk (2010), Former CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA)
  • Michael Tubbs (2011), Councilmember, Stockton, California
  • Michael Long (2013), CEO of SailFuture
  • Frankie Dakin (2013), Alderman of Millington, TN. Youngest elected official in TN.
  • Zach Brown (2013), Member [Montana House of Representatives]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Asthana, Anushka (28 August 2006). "Present Scholars, Future Leaders" – via washingtonpost.com. 
  2. ^ a b "FAQ – Candidates – The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation". 
  3. ^ S.3548
  4. ^ H.R.15138
  5. ^ H.R.17481
  6. ^ "20 U.S. Code Chapter 42 – HARRY S TRUMAN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIPS". 
  7. ^ "Public Welfare". 
  8. ^ Truman Scholarship Foundation members
  9. ^ Primary selection criteria for scholarship
  10. ^ Who are Truman Scholars?
  11. ^ There has never been a Truman Scholar from my school. Do I have a chance?
  12. ^ What benefits do Truman Scholars receive?
  13. ^ "Welcome to NAU – NAU News  : NAU News". 
  14. ^ http://law.txwes.edu/Faculty/FacultyProfiles/FrederickGSlabach/tabid/841/Default.aspx
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Keith B. Richburg – International reporting on China – Asia – Africa – Europe". 
  17. ^ "Delaware Governor Nominates Law Firm Chief to Head Court of Chancery". JDJOURNAL. JD Journal. 21 Mar 2014. 
  18. ^ "Governors Island". 
  19. ^ "NASPAA *The Global Standard in Public Service Education*". 
  20. ^ Pacific Magazine: AMERICAN SAMOA: New Power Authority CEO Controversial Selection
  21. ^ "Todd Gaziano". 
  22. ^ "2015-2016 Board of Directors – Truman Scholars Association". 
  23. ^ "Laws test states' rights". 21 June 2005. 
  24. ^ "The Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania – Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy". 
  25. ^ [2];
  26. ^ "Home Page". 
  27. ^ Press Release: Univision Names Maryam Banikarim Chief Marketing Officer
  28. ^ DOJ/OIG Organization – Oversight and Review Division Text Version
  29. ^ "Jason Saul – Faculty – Kellogg School of Management". 
  30. ^ mindfully.org. "Two Prosecutors At Guantanamo Quit in Protest: Rather than take part in military trials they considered rigged against alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba JESS BRAVIN / Wall Street Journal 1aug2005". 
  31. ^ http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/61-2009/senate/senators/bios/macschneider.html
  32. ^ Wood Rudulph, Heather (October 5, 2015). "Get That Life: How I Became the Host of a TV Show About Outer Space". Cosmopolitan. Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved October 22, 2015. 

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