Baylor Junior Named 2007 Truman Scholar

  • News Photo 4015
    Baylor President John M. Lilley delivers the good news to Truman Scholarship winner Kenneth Ike during his class at Morrison Hall.
  • News Photo 4014
    Kenneth Ike
March 27, 2007

by Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275

Kenneth Ike, a junior University Scholar in the honors program at Baylor University, is one of 65 students - and only two from Texas - from 56 U.S. colleges and universities to be named a 2007 Truman Scholar. Ike was selected for the prestigious honor on the basis of his leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of "making a difference."

The official announcement was made today by Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Baylor President John M. Lilley informed Ike of his honor, while visiting one of his classes.

"The Truman Scholarship is a tremendous honor for Kenneth and Baylor University," Lilley said. "Kenneth continues a Baylor tradition of producing exceptionally bright students who desire to be leaders and public servants in our world, which is precisely what the Truman Foundation seeks from its scholars. All of us at Baylor look forward to witnessing the great things that Kenneth will accomplish in the future."

"Being named a Truman Scholar puts me one step closer to a career path that can be used to serve those in need," Ike said. "It is a tremendous accomplishment, and I am grateful for the designation."

A resident of Alief, Ike is completing a pre-medical concentration at Baylor. He has had internships at Duke School of Medicine and at UT-Southwestern Medical Center, and upon graduation, plans to pursue a medical degree with either a master's in public health or a doctorate in a public health-related field.

"I plan to use the clinical training to work as a physician in an underserved community or possibly as an administrator at an agency dedicated to serving such communities," Ike said of his future plans.

Ike is a graduate of Alief Hastings High School and the son of Franka Cutliff-Ike of Alief. At Baylor, he is involved in Alpha Epsilon Delta, NAACP, Genetics Research Nam-Lab and Honors/Baylor Interdisciplinary Core Program, and has served as a Community Leader in the Honors College Living-Learning Center.

Ike was selected from among 585 candidates nominated by 280 colleges and universities. Eighteen independent selection panels interviewed finalists from a three-to-four state region and elected generally one Scholar from each state and one at-large Scholar from the region. Each panel typically included a university president, a federal judge, a distinguished public servant and a past Truman Scholarship winner.

Each Scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the nation's 33rd President. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the Foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the U.S. Treasury. There have been 2,545 Truman Scholars elected since the first awards were made in 1977.

The 2007 Truman Scholars will assemble May 15 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., on May 20.

Ike is the eighth Baylor student to be awarded a Truman scholarship since the program began in 1977. Most recently, Kristin Kan of Arlington, Texas, was honored as a Truman Scholar in 2004, joining John Hill, also of Arlington, who was selected in 2003 and Skye Perryman of Waco in 2002.

Kan is completing her second year at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and has plans to pursue a master's in public health. Hill is in his third year at Harvard Law School and plans to do a one-year judicial clerkship with Federal District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez of San Antonio. Perryman is completing her final year at Georgetown Law School.

"Truman Scholars are leaders, public servants and - most importantly - change agents," said Elizabeth S. Vardaman, associate dean for special academic projects in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor. "They are academically solid, and they have experience as leaders who carry heavy responsibilities, but our winners have also been students with very big hearts. In Kenneth's case, anyone who speaks with him can feel his intellectual power, but also his compassion for those who need health care but cannot afford it. He will distinguish himself in medical school and then, with added expertise in public health and resources from the Truman experience, he will return to Houston to make a great difference in the effectiveness of public health programs there."

For a listing of the 2007 Scholars and more information on the Foundation, see

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