Villanova University Junior Lezlie Hilario Named Recipient of Prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Hilario is the seventh Villanovan to receive a Truman Scholarship


Villanova University junior Lezlie Hilario ‘25 has been awarded a 2024 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.

VILLANOVA, Pa. (April 12, 2024) – Villanova University junior Lezlie Hilario ‘25, a Political Science and Global Interdisciplinary Studies major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2024 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Hilario is the seventh Villanovan since 1984 and the first since 2015 to receive a Truman Scholarship, considered one of the most prestigious and selective national awards for undergraduate leaders who intend to pursue careers in public service. Nationally, 60 Scholars were selected from a field of 709 candidates that were nominated by 285 colleges and universities.

“We are immensely proud that Lezlie has been named a Truman Scholar. This honor highlights her exceptional contributions to her communities in New Jersey and Villanova and underscores her unwavering commitment to leadership, public service and creating positive societal change,” said Catherine Stecyk, Director for the Center for Research and Fellowships. “We are confident that Lezlie will continue to inspire and make a profound impact as she pursues her goals at Villanova and beyond.”

A member of the University’s Honors Program, Hilario’s passion for social justice initiatives is reflected in her studies and extracurricular activities. She has been a leader for Service and Justice Experiences through the St. Thomas of Villanova Center for the Common Good, and in 2023, interned for Congressman Raul Grijalva and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She is currently studying abroad in the Dominican Republic.

Hilario participates in numerous extracurricular activities, serving as co-president of the Latin American Student Association, the multicultural coalition chair of the Student Government Association and co-facilitation chair of the Association for Change and Transformation. During her time at Villanova, she has participated in initiatives such as UNITAS Weekend, the Center for Access, Success and Achievement’s St. Thomas of Villanova Scholars summer program and Let’s Vote Nova. Hilario is also a member of the Villanova Cheerleading team and a student leader in Villanova Athletics’ UNITAS BIPOC group.

Hilario plans to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue post-graduate studies at Princeton University. Her long-term goals include running for school board in her hometown of Perth Amboy, N.J., working at a national non-profit, and establishing her own organization that addresses the shared concerns and experiences of Black and Latino Americans.

The 2024 Truman Scholars were chosen by 17 independent selection panels based on candidates’ academic success, leadership accomplishments, and likelihood of becoming public service leaders. The selection panels are comprised of distinguished civic leaders, elected officials, university presidents, federal judges, and past Truman Scholarship winners.

Each Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study, alongside leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must show excellent leadership potential, communication skills, and academic performance, ranking in the top quarter of their class. They must also be committed to serving in government or the non-profit sector.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as a federal memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to pursue graduate studies in preparation for careers in government or public service. Since the first awards were made in 1977, 3,564 Truman Scholars have been selected.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit