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SU junior Travis Mason selected as 2005 Truman Scholar
SU junior Travis Mason selected as 2005 Truman ScholarMarch 30, 2005Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced that Syracuse University’s Travis G. Mason, a junior political science, political philosophy and policy studies major in The College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected a 2005 Truman Scholar. One of 75 Truman scholars for this year, Mason was among 600 nominees from colleges and universities nationwide.
“The Truman Scholarship is such a blessing. Apart from support of my family, mentors, friends and members of Syracuse community, my achievements cannot be easily defined,” says Mason, of Upper Marlboro, Md.
The Truman Scholarship Foundation, established by Congress in 1975, awards scholarships to college students who have outstanding leadership potential and who intend to pursue careers in public service. Harry S. Truman Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit to U.S. citizens and nationals who, at the time of application, are juniors at four-year institutions or sophomores at two-year colleges.
Truman Scholars are recognized as “future change agents.” They have the passion, intellect and leadership potential that demonstrate their potential to improve the ways that public entities-government agencies, nonprofit organizations, public and private primary and secondary schools, or advocacy organizations-serve the public good. “Harris S. Truman stood for cause of justice. I hope to continue in his legacy understanding that the cause is much greater than the course,” Mason says.
As a Truman Scholar, Mason will receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school.
“I have known Travis since he was a freshman and was immediately struck by his passion to make a difference and his exceptional ability to relate to people,” says William D. Coplin, professor and director of the Public Affairs Program in the MaxwellSchool of Citizenship and Public Affairs and faculty representative for the Truman Scholar program. “I was not surprised that he has become the foremost student leader on campus and deeply appreciate the Truman Foundation’s decision to give him this outstanding award.”
Mason’s passion, intellect, and leadership are seen throughout the University community. Most visibly, Mason serves as the president of the Student Association (SA), which coordinates and budgets student activities and organizations on campus and also serves to represent students’ rights and needs at the University.
Mason is a member of the University Senate, which is the academic governing body of the University. He is a student in the Renee Crown University Honors Program and represented the program this past fall at the National Collegiate Honors Conference in New Orleans. He serves on the North East National Collegiate Honors Conference Executive Board. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Orange Seeds program, a leadership program for first-year students at SU. He is president of SU’s chapter of African American Male Congress, the oldest undergraduate honors organization for African American men in the United States. Mason also serves as a student representative to SU’s National Alumni Association Board.
“I’ve been privileged to be Travis Mason’s teacher as well as his dean, and so have admired him in many contexts,” says Cathryn R. Newton, dean of The College of Arts and Sciences. “His keen mind and generous heart bring exhilaration to all who work with him. We are proud to have him in The College of Arts and Sciences and thrilled by this recognition of extraordinary talent and character.”
At the Nov. 5 inauguration of Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Mason was recognized among a select group of faculty, staff, students and community members chosen to represent “the soul of Syracuse.” Additionally, Mason is also a trained operatic vocalist and pianist. In the future, he plans to found the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Leadership, Scholarship and Service-a high school summer leadership academy-in Prince Georges County, Md.
“Travis Mason is a tremendous example of the combination of talent and enterprising attitude that sets Syracuse University apart,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “I am sure he will seize this opportunity and translate it into the kind of achievement that will have far-reaching benefits.”
Jessica G. Simon of Rockville, Md., a senior majoring in English and textual studies, and policy studies in The College of Arts and Sciences, was among the 237 finalists selected from 152 institutions.