The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for public service leadership. It is a federally funded scholarship granted to U.S. undergraduate students for demonstrated leadership potential, academic excellence, and a commitment to public service. It is administered by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, an independent federal agency based in Washington, D.C.
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." The scholarship supports public service oriented graduate study in the amount of $30,000.
Each year, between 50 and 60 university nominated candidates in their junior year are named Truman Scholars following a rigorous application process involving essays, recommendations, and an interview. Scholarships have historically been awarded to one individual from each U.S. state. Each university in the United States may only nominate four candidates annually, who represent the most accomplished nominees from that university.
On May 30, 1974, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri sponsored S.3548, 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 sponsored by William J. Randall of Missouri and H.R.17481 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. It now operates as Program 85.001, governed by 45 CFR 1801 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."  The Foundation's operations are overseen by full-time Executive Secretary Terry Babcock-Lumish. 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 Brian Schatz, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Congressman Kay Granger, and Congressman Ted Deutch.
The scholarship is awarded to between 50 and 60 U.S. college juniors each year on the basis of four criteria: 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.
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. After nomination, annually the Foundation receives 900 applications, of whom between 50 and 60 will be selected each year. 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 and American territories. 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.
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. 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, including the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, 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, independent non-profit that works to foster additional opportunities and networking for Scholars.
Notable Truman Scholars
- Ernest Calderón (1977), Member of the Arizona Board of Regents 
- Janet Napolitano (1977), Governor of Arizona, 2003–2009, Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama (2009–2013), President of the University of California (2013–present)
- Frederick G. Slabach (1977), Texas Wesleyan University President, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, Former Executive Secretary of the Truman Scholarship Foundation
- Dwight Dively (1978), Director of Finance for the City of Seattle 
- Awilda R. Marquez (1978), Director of the Department of Excise and Licenses, Denver, Colorado
- Keith B. Richburg (1978), Author and correspondent for the Washington Post 
- Robert J. Van Der Velde (1979), Dean, Napa Valley College
- Stephen Censky (1980), United States Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
- Jeffrey Toobin (1980), senior legal analyst for CNN and staff writer at The New Yorker
- David Adkins (1981), Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center; Executive Director of the Council of State Governments
- André Bouchard (1981), Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery
- Bill de Blasio (1981), New York City Mayor
- Bill Halter (1981), former Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas and U.S. Senate candidate
- George Stephanopoulos (1981), former political adviser to Bill Clinton, current Chief Anchor for ABC News
- David Cooley (1982), Deputy Governor of Tennessee
- Matt Crowl (1982), Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Chicago
- Leslie Koch (1982), President of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation 
- Laurel McFarland (1982), Executive Director, National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration 
- Andra Samoa (1982), CEO of American Samoa Power Authority 
- Thomas Sugrue (1982), professor of history and sociology at New York University
- G. Murray Snow (1982), federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
- Chris Coons (1983), U.S. Senator for Delaware
- Russ Dallen (1983), Editor-in-chief of the Latin American Herald Tribune, and previously the Daily Journal
- Dan Gelber, Florida State Senator and Florida Attorney General Candidate.
- Todd F. Gaziano (1983), Director of the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation 
- Luis Ubiñas (1983), former President of the Ford Foundation
- Mark Cannon (1984), Chief of Staff, APCO International
- William W. Mercer (1984), United States Attorney for Montana
- Daniel H. Pink (1984), author of A Whole New Mind; former chief speech writer for Vice President Gore
- Susan E. Rice (1984), 24th National Security Advisor; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; former Assistant Secretary of State
- William E. Thro (1984), Solicitor General for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Professor and University Counsel for Christopher Newport University 
- Bob Morgan (1984), President and CEO of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
- Wayne W. Williams (1985), Colorado Secretary of State
- Tom Malinowski (1985), United States Representative, New Jersey's 7th congressional district
- Ted Deutch (1986), member of U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 19th congressional district, former Democratic member of the Florida State Senate
- Autumn Fiester (1986), Senior Fellow at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania 
- Margot Rogers (1986), Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
- Michael W. Welch (1986), Director, National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, Mayor,North Pole,Alaska, State Deputy 2009-2012 Alaska Knights of Columbus 
- Mark Lemley (1986), Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
- Michelle Alexander (1987), Associate Professor, Ohio State University, civil rights advocate and writer
- Maryam Banikarim (1987), Chief Marketing Officer at Univision
- Neil Gorsuch (1987), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
- Christopher W. Kersey (1989), Founding Managing Partner of Havencrest Healthcare Capital Partners and Chairman of the Board of Johns Hopkins Medicine International
- Brad Lander (1989), Member of the New York City Council, representing the 39th Council District in Brooklyn
- Catherine Sheehan (1989), Deputy Assistant Inspector General at the Department of Justice 
- George Herbert Walker IV (1989), CEO of Neuberger Berman
- Jason Saul (1989), CEO of Mission Measurement, Lecturer of Social Enterprise at Kellogg School of Management
- Noah Feldman (1990), Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
- Mark Sandy (1991), Deputy Associate Director for National Security, Office of Management and Budget, Executive office of the President, Washington, D.C.
- Amy Hungerford (1992), Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies of English at Yale University
- Rich Constable (1993), former assistant U.S. attorney, Commissioner of the N.J. Department of Community Affairs
- Maj. John Carr (1993), former United States Air Force prosecutor at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp 
- Rachel Paulose (1993), United States Attorney for Minnesota
- Stacey Abrams (1994), Georgia House Minority Leader, 84th District
- Hannah Beech (1994), Journalist and New York Times Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
- William J. Dobson (1994), Journalist and Author of The Dictator's Learning Curve.
- Amy Finkelstein (1994), MacArthur Fellow and Professor in Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Anjan Mukherjee (1994), former Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
- Cara H. Drinan, professor of law at The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law
- Naomi M. Barry-Perez (1995), Director of the Civil Rights Center, U.S. Department of Labor
- Glenn O. Brown (1995), former Executive Director of Creative Commons
- John Cranley (1995), Cincinnati City Councilmember
- Daniel S. Fridman (1995), Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General
- Michele Gavin (1995), U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Former Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council and Senior Advisor to the President of the United States.
- Tiffany Graham (1995), Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at University of South Dakota School of Law
- Eric Greitens (1995), 56th Governor of Missouri (2017-2018), Founder of The Mission Continues
- Ian Larkin (1995), Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School
- Edward Miguel (1995), Associate Professor of Economics at UC-Berkeley
- Darci Vetter (1995), former Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR, former Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA, former International Trade Advisor at Senate Finance Committee
- Dayne Walling (1995), Mayor of Flint, Michigan
- Jake Zimmerman (1995), Missouri State Representative, 83rd District
- John King, Jr. (1995), 10th United States Secretary of Education
- NIcholas Thompson (1996), Editor in Chief of Wired
- Phil Carter (1996), Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs
- Corine Hegland (1996), Writer, The National Journal, 2006 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism
- Terry Babcock-Lumish (1996), Current Executive Secretary of the Truman Foundation.
- Jedediah Purdy (1996), Author and Professor, Duke University School of Law
- Brendan Johnson (1997), U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota
- Justin Phillips (1997), Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University
- Noam Scheiber (1997), Reporter on Labor and the Workplace for The New York Times
- Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (1998), Deputy Assistant Secretary at United States Department of Treasury, former Fellow and Deputy Director at Brookings Institution
- Leo J. Wise (1998), Chief Counsel, Office of Congressional Ethics, U.S. House of Representatives
- Dusty Johnson (1998), former chief of staff to Governor Dennis Daugaard and chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, current member of the United States House of Representatives from South Dakota
- David Haskell (2000), Deputy Editor of New York Magazine; Co-founder of Kings County Distillery
- Jina Moore (2001), Former East Africa bureau chief for The New York Times
- Mac Schneider (2001), Senator, District 42, North Dakota State Senate
- Jon Favreau (2002), President Barack Obama's Director of Speechwriting, co-founder of Crooked Media
- Cyrus Habib (2002), 16th Lieutenant Governor of Washington
- Heidi Williams (2002), MacArthur Fellow and Professor in Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Andy Kim (2003), U.S. Representative from NJ-03 and former National Security Council adviser to President Barack Obama
- Tony Venhuizen (2004), Chief of staff to the Governor of South Dakota.
- Ryan Quarles (2005), Agriculture Commissioner of Kentucky, 2016–present, Kentucky State Representative from District 62, 2011–2016
- Rob Sand (2005), Iowa State Auditor
- Robbie Brown (2006), Chief of Staff, Bloomberg News
- Miles Taylor, GOP staffer who made an anti-Trump ad for Republican Voters Against Trump
- Matt Delligatti (2007), Mayor of Fairmont, West Virginia
- Kesha Ram (2007), Member Vermont House of Representatives
- Warwick Sabin (2007), Member Arkansas House of Representatives
- Emily Calandrelli (2008), Host and producer for Xploration Station
- Greg Nance (2010), CEO of Dyad.com and Founder of Moneythink
- Michael Dakduk (2010), Former CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA)
- Michael Tubbs (2011), Mayor, Stockton, California
- Zach Brown (2012), Member of the Montana House of Representatives
- Brooks Payette (2012), Communications Manager at University of New Hampshire
- Aaron Paul Padilla (2012), Senior Advisor for International Policy at the American Petroleum Institute (API)
- Zach Wahls (2013), Iowa State Senator
- Jacob Tobia (2013), LBGT rights activist
- Churchill Scholarship
- Fulbright Scholarship
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- Harkness Fellowship
- Jardine Scholarship
- Knight-Hennessy Scholars
- Marshall Scholarship
- Mitchell Scholarship
- Rhodes Scholarship
- Rotary Scholarships
- Schwarzman Scholars
- Thouron Award
- Yenching Scholarship
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