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News from the Hilltop

March 25, 2008

Birmingham-Southern College student and Russellville native is Alabama's only 2008 Truman Scholar

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Russellville native and Birmingham-Southern College student Arthur Richey has been named a 2008 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Richey, a junior political science major, was one of five scholars chosen from 13 regional finalists and the only one from the state of Alabama. He is the fourth Truman Scholar from Birmingham-Southern in 10 years.

Russellville native and Birmingham-Southern College student Arthur Richey

This year's selection includes 65 Truman Scholars chosen from 595 students nominated from U.S. colleges and universities. Some 211 finalists from 139 institutions were interviewed in early March by regional selection panels, which typically included a university president, a federal judge, a distinguished public servant, and a past Truman Scholarship winner, among others.

Truman Scholars receive $30,000 awards—up to $15,000 each year for the first two years of graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at several graduate institutions nationwide, in addition to leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities with federal agencies.

The scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit to junior-level students at four-year colleges and universities who have extensive records of public and community service, are committed to careers in government or elsewhere in public service, and have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills.

Richey plans to attend law school and work in Alabama in state politics. At Birmingham-Southern, he is active in Leadership Studies, College Democrats and serves as a Southern Ambassador.

“My goal is to study law then work in Washington while I am young to gain as much knowledge about public policy as possible and come back home to begin a career that will enable me to give a voice to the people of the state that don't have one,” said Richey of his future plans.

Richey interviewed along with 12 other finalists from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

A committee of BSC faculty picked the college's Truman Scholar nominee based on his interest in a Truman Scholarship and his life goals which match those set out by the Truman Foundation. Richey worked throughout the fall semester on the application, which consisted of 15 questions, including several essay questions; three letters of recommendation; and a policy proposal.

Richey's policy dealt with defining economic woes in rural Alabama. He wrote a proposal which called for the state to increase funding for research on the development of cellulosic ethanol.

“It has the potential to provide an economic spark for rural communities in Alabama,” he said. “Our state government needs to work with agencies and people in Washington to develop this potential.”

The 2008 Truman Scholars will assemble at William Jewel College in Liberty, Mo., from May 13-18 for a week long leadership development program. They will receive their awards during a May 18 ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo.

Richey currently has a 3.8 grade-point average at BSC. He was selected as a 2007 Hess Fellow and worked last summer as an intern with the advocacy group Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform. Last fall, he volunteered with Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a group dedicated to the protection of the Black Warrior River, and is currently working for Empower Alabama to engage more people in progressive change for Alabama.

Richey, the son of Benjamin and Mary Richey of Russellville, graduated from Russellville High School. He is an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow. In addition to his involvement with the College Democrats at BSC, Richey is active at the state, regional and national levels as well. Previously, he served as the 2005-06 political director for the Alabama College Democrats, the 2006 state chairman of Young Alabamians for Lucy Baxley for Governor Campaign, a 2006 and 2007 delegate at the College Democrats of America National Convention, and the 2006-07 membership director for the Alabama College Democrats. He interned for U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama for his January 2006 BSC Interim term. He currently serves as the 2007-08 president of the Alabama College Democrats.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established in 1975 by Congress as the official memorial to the nation's 33rd president.


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