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Villanova University Junior Stefan Johnson Named Recipient of Prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Stefan Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.), a Political Science and Communication major in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was recognized for his academics, leadership and public service

Stefan Johnston image

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University junior Stefan Johnson ‘14 has been named as a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, marking the second consecutive year a Villanovan has received this prestigious honor. Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, President of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, announced the names of the 62 recipients – from 54 U.S. colleges and universities – selected as 2013 Truman Scholars. The Truman Scholarship Foundation recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to making a difference through public service. In 2012, Villanova student Jessica Wamala ’13, from Milford, N.H., received the honor.

Johnson, from Philadelphia, Pa., and a Roman Catholic High School graduate, is a Political Science and Communication major in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He displays a passion for leadership and service to the community both on and off campus. Last spring, he interned at the White House, learning firsthand about the U.S. political system, while also mentoring students in the D.C. College Access Program. Johnson is actively involved in the local Philadelphia community as well, working with students in the Urban Sustainability Leadership Academy. Additionally, he has participated as a guest commentator on the Emmy-nominated WTXF-TV Fox 29 news segment, “Black on Black,” discussing issues in the African-American community in Philadelphia.

“Stefan’s selection as a 2013 Truman Scholar places Villanova among only a small number of institutions, including Duke, Dartmouth, Rutgers and the United States Naval Academy, to have Truman Scholars two years in a row,” said Jane Morris, Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships at Villanova University. “Stefan embodies the ideals of a Villanova education with a strong commitment to academic excellence, leadership and social justice.”

As one of Roman Catholic High School’s first black student presidents Johnson wrote a letter to President Barack Obama in 2010, and the President responded with a note of encouragement. This correspondence and Johnson’s accomplishments were later highlighted in the book Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President

After graduation from Villanova, Johnson plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School to prepare for a career dedicated to addressing the cycle of incarceration in Philadelphia through policy reform.

The Truman Scholars were chosen by 17 independent selection panels on the basis of their academic and leadership accomplishments and their likelihood of becoming public service leaders. Selection panels met across the U.S. and included distinguished leaders, university presidents, elected officials, federal judges, prominent public servants, and past Truman Scholarship winners. The 2013 Truman Scholars will assemble May 28 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, and receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, on June 2, 2013. A listing of all the 2013 Truman Scholars can be found on the Foundation’s website.

Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class, and be committed to careers in government or the non-profit sector.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to our thirty-third President. The Foundation awards scholarships for college students to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in government or elsewhere in public service. The activities of the Foundation are supported by a special trust fund in the US Treasury. There have been 2,906 Truman Scholars selected since the first awards were made in 1977.

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 five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.