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University of Missouri Student Named a Truman Scholar

Students will receive $30,000 scholarship for graduate school

March 26, 2009

Story Contact:  Kelsey Jackson, (573) 882-8353,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri junior Rick Puig has been recognized for his strong record of leadership and public service and named a Truman Scholar. The scholarship is highly selective and given to approximately 65 college juniors across the nation. In addition to a $30,000 scholarship for graduate study, Puig will receive priority admission and financial aid at top graduate institutions across the country and opportunities for summer internships in Washington, D.C.

"We are excited that Rick Puig has been honored as a 2009 Truman Scholar," said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies. "He has established a very distinguished record of accomplishments both in and outside the classroom. We are pleased to congratulate Rick and his family on all of his accomplishments that contributed to this recognition. We also want to recognize the great support that Rick has received from our fantastic faculty and staff that have served as Rick's mentors. Rick is another example of the outstanding students that are part of Mizzou's student body."

Puig is majoring in political science in the MU College of Arts and Science and is active in state and national politics. He is president of the Young Democrats of Missouri, South Central Regional Director for the Young Democrats of America and a candidate for vice president of the Young Democrats of America. He owns Public Forum Zone, LLC, a business that produces educational resources for high school debate teams. He is the youngest member of Governor Jay Nixon's Citizen Transition Advisory Board and was the youngest delegate to the Democratic National Convention's Rules Committee in 2008. After graduation, Puig plans to pursue a master's degree in public policy.

"I am humbled to be a recipient of the Truman Scholarship and profoundly grateful to those who have accompanied me on this journey," Puig said. "The extraordinary young men and women I met through this process have validated my belief in the potential of young people to be agents of change. This scholarship is a living memorial to a president who dedicated his life to the service of our country, and I hope to uphold that legacy."

 Established by Congress in 1975 as a federal memorial to the 33rd president, the Truman Scholarship Foundation presents scholarships to college students who plan to attend graduate school in order to prepare for careers in government or public service. Recipients of the award must be U.S. citizens and have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills. They also must rank in the top quarter of their class and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

 "The Truman Scholarship is one of the most competitive and prestigious of the national fellowships," said Vicky Riback Wilson, service-learning and fellowships coordinator. "Chosen from among the most accomplished students throughout the nation, Truman Scholars are expected to be change-agents for their communities and the country."