UofL junior Hannah Wilson is proof that big dreams can begin in small places.
She hails from Bradfordsville, Kentucky. Population: about 300 people. Actually, make that 300 very proud people.
That’s because Wilson has made them extra proud by winning a prestigious Truman Scholarship. The prominent award went to just 54 U.S. college students this year and is valued at $30,000. Wilson is Kentucky’s only 2016 Truman Scholar.
The prize recognizes college juniors with a record of outstanding leadership and community involvement who want to pursue careers in public service. The winners will receive their awards in a May 29 ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.
Wilson is a political science, philosophy and women’s and gender studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is also a McConnell Scholar and expects to graduate in May 2017.
After she graduates from UofL, she intends to use her scholarship to earn a PhD and a law degree from the University of California Berkeley School of Law. She then plans to focus on a career in civil rights.
“Hannah has certainly earned this honor,” said UofL President Dr. James Ramsey. “She exemplifies ambition, academic excellence, leadership and a passion for justice and I am certain that she will emerge as a leader of her generation.”
Dr. Patricia Condon, who directs UofL’s Office of National and International Scholarship Opportunities, said the highly competitive scholarship is a golden opportunity for public-service minded undergraduates like Wilson.
“During her time at UofL, Hannah has wisely leveraged leadership and community service opportunities — especially through her McConnell Scholarship. The Truman Scholarship is an ideal next step for her,” Condon said.
“I’m honored to be a Truman Scholar and I look forward to seizing the opportunities made available to me by the foundation in pursuit of a lifetime of public service,” said Wilson. “It is especially a privilege to represent the rural, central Kentucky community of which I am a product in my acceptance of this award.”
Wilson is the daughter of Cindy and Todd Wilson of Bradfordsville. She graduated from Marion County High School in 2013 and was the school’s senior class president.
Twelve UofL students have been Truman Scholars since 1977, the year the national program was launched. Last year, UofL’s Amanda Allen was also Kentucky’s only Truman Scholar.