Two for Truman

August 1, 2004

Two Duke rising seniors have won Truman scholarships, which recognize academic accomplishments, leadership potential, and commitment to a career in public service. Philip Kurian, a public-policy and physics major from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and Anthony Vitarelli, a public-policy and economics major from Marlton, New Jersey, were notified of their award in April by President Nannerl O. Keohane.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships--$2,000 for senior-year study and up to $26,000 for graduate studies--to students who plan to pursue careers in government or public service. In addition, Truman scholars receive leadership-development training and internship opportunities in the federal government.

Kurian, a B.N. Duke Scholar, has thrown himself into a variety of campus issues as a columnist for The Chronicle and as a member of the business and finance committee of Duke's board of trustees and the President's Council on Black Affairs.

"I applied because I have a passion for education and for increasing equality of educational opportunity in America," says Kurian. "I wanted to connect with other students across the nation who are driven by similar concerns about the public good. Right now I intend to teach science at the primary or secondary level, but I also want to stay involved in my writing."

Vitarelli also has been active in campus organizations. As a sophomore, he was elected president of the Duke Campus Council. He is also a co-founder of the Duke University Greening Initiative, which seeks to promote environmentally friendly policies on campus and in the community. He intends to use the scholarship to attend law school and pursue a career in criminal law. "I'd love to be a district attorney, and maybe someday a U.S. attorney," he says. The Truman also offers an internship during the summer following graduation, he adds. He's considering the Office of Legal Policy in the Department of Justice or trying to find a research position at the State Department.

Duke students have received thirty-seven Truman scholarships since the program was initiated in 1977.