We had some excitement in Oldfather yesterday. I joined Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Laura Damuth — UNL's director of undergraduate research and fellowship adviser — and several others to surprise our newly named Truman Scholar. The prestigious honor went to Emily Schlichting, a junior from Omaha who’s majoring in communication studies and political science. The scholarship is a $30,000, merit-based grant awarded to undergraduates who plan to attend graduate or professional school in preparation for careers in public service.
The news brought Emily to tears as she expressed her gratitude for what UNL has offered her and for those who helped her through the application process. That included her mother, whom she promptly called as cameras captured the celebratory moment. You can check out the video on our website, http://mediahub.unl.edu/media/2021.
It was exciting for me to participate in such an announcement. I think it’s pretty special to have top-level university administrators visit a class and that goes to show how important we consider this highly competitive honor. I think it also makes a great impression on the students and makes the university more personal. It helps students see that we’re people, too, and not just someone you see at graduation or read about in the newspaper.
Truman Scholars are some of the best students and this university has a great tradition of winning Truman Scholarships. Just last summer, UNL was named a Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Honor Institution, which recognized the university’s outstanding record of support for Truman Scholars.
UNL has had five Truman Scholars in the last decade. It’s a significant accomplishment considering more than 600 students applied this year. The Truman Foundation generally selects just 60 to 65 students each year from universities across the country for the honor.
I can boast that a David Manderscheid is among the past Truman Scholars, but unfortunately it wasn’t me. A second cousin of mine who shares my name (although a different middle name) won the scholarship in 1986. It became a running joke for us because we were both at the University of Iowa at the time. He was a student and I was on the faculty.
Truman Scholars go on to do some pretty amazing things I’m sure we’ll be hearing about Emily’s success in years to come.
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