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Student leader named Truman scholar

March 28, 2003

By Peter Anzollitto

John Hill, an Arlington junior and student body external vice president, was awarded the prestigious Truman Scholarship Tuesday after an arduous application and interview process.

The Truman Scholarship is designed to locate, reward and mentor students who have committed their lives to public service, and it is awarded to about 75 college juniors each year.

'I first found out about the scholarship at an information meeting last semester,' Hill said.

'Through a lot of help from Elizabeth Vardaman and many others, I was able to apply and was very honored to accept the Truman Scholarship this week.'

The scholarship includes an award of $30,000, $3,000 for the winner's senior year of college and $27,000 for graduate school, a summer institute in Washington, D.C. and a leadership week at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. The leadership week is a chance for new scholars to work with each other, and the summer institute offers scholars a 10-week internship at any public service agency ranging from the White House to the Department of Justice.

'We covered topics from globalization to domestic politics, and through days of interesting events I learned a great deal,' Kevin Schwartz, a 2000 Truman Scholar, said on the Truman Scholarship Web site.

Hill said through his ambition for public service, he hopes to help build better and stronger communities, especially through education.

This year, as the external vice president, he has done just that through developing and heading the One Book One Waco project. One Book One Waco is a program where everyone in the Waco community is encouraged to read a novel and then attend various events and discuss it.

'The One Book One Waco program is a way to unite the many diverse communities in Waco and to promote dialogue on issues that are relevant to the bigger Waco community,' Hill said.

Vardaman, associate dean for special projects and Baylor's Truman Scholarship representative, said Hill's accomplishment was especially impressive because of how late he decided to apply.

'Many people know since they are freshmen that they will apply for the Truman Scholarship, and everything they do in college is geared toward that,' Vardaman said. 'John was just living his life. It is really a tribute to him.'

Baylor has had several Truman Scholars recently, including Skye Perryman in 2002 and Jerome Loughridge in 1994.