News 2015: UMass Dartmouth student, Fairhaven native, named one of 58 Truman Scholars in US

News 2015: UMass Dartmouth student, Fairhaven native, named one of 58 Truman Scholars in US
UMass Dartmouth student, Fairhaven native, named one of 58 Truman Scholars in US

Jacob Miller is lone recipient from Massachusetts college or university; competed against nearly 700 applicants nationwide to receive one of the country's most prestigious scholarships in public service leadership

UMass Dartmouth junior Jacob Miller, of Fairhaven, MA, a dual Political Science and English major with a minor in Leadership and Civic Engagement, has been selected as a 2015 Truman Scholar. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation's living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The Foundation has a mission to select and support the next generation of public service leaders. The Truman award has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States. 

"We are absolutely thrilled for Jacob to receive one of the country's most prestigious scholarships in public service leadership," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said. "Jacob's commitment to learning and leading is exemplary. From helping to create a cultural district in downtown New Bedford to effectively advocating for lower health care costs for students, Jacob has proven himself to be an outstanding citizen. And, he's just getting started." 

"Jacob's excellence in academic and community involvement exemplifies everything our society needs in its future leaders.  As an intern in my office, his dedication and impressive work ethic was invaluable to many local initiatives, including the creation of the New Bedford Seaport Cultural District," said Senator Mark Montigny, Assistant Majority Leader. "Jacob is joining an elite group of 57 other students dedicated to public service. As an alumnus of UMass Dartmouth I am honored to have Jacob represent both my alma mater and Massachusetts as a Truman Scholar." 

Jacob is the first UMass Dartmouth student ever to be selected as a Truman Scholar. He becomes the ninth student to be selected within the University of Massachusetts system. Jacob is the only student this year who both attends a Massachusetts college or university and is also from Massachusetts. 

Annually, candidates for the Truman Scholarship go through a rigorous, multi-stage selection process. In 2015, there were 688 candidates for the award nominated by 297 colleges and universities. The 200 finalists for the award were interviewed in March and early April at one of sixteen regional selection panels. Fifty-eight new Truman Scholars were selected in 2015. They will receive their awards in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum on Sunday, May 24, 2015. 

Jacob was recently elected by his peers as Student Trustee to serve on the University of Massachusetts Board Of Trustees. He has served in a number of roles within student government as the Class of 2016 Senator and Recording Secretary. In addition, he is the Student Coordinator for UMass Dartmouth's community service collaboration SouthCoast Serves.  He is also the founding CEO of the UMass Dartmouth Student-Run Business Association, which is planning to launch its first business this year. 

In December 2014 Jacob was named an Opportunity Leader by Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan, cross-sector, national campaign to expand economic mobility and restore the American Dream. Opportunity Nation Leaders are advocates who have personal experience with barriers to advancement in America, and who share a commitment to removing obstacles for others and expanding upward mobility in our communities. 

Jacob was the driving force for the launch of UMass Dartmouth's new partnership with Democracy Works, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that builds technology to make voting easy. Through this partnership, UMass Dartmouth now utilizes TurboVote, an innovative "one-stop-shop" voter engagement platform.UMass Dartmouth became the first public university in Massachusetts to partner with TurboVote to expand on-campus voter outreach. During the last election, 160 UMass Dartmouth students registered, using TurboVote. 

Through his active involvement in civic engagement initiatives, Jacob has played an integral role in the restoration of Tonnessen Square Park in New Bedford, establishment of the New Bedford Seaport Cultural District by the Massachusetts Cultural Council Board, development of a service-learning curriculum for the Dartmouth Public School system, and creation of a new student meal plan which includes three downtown New Bedford eateries. 

While serving as a legislative intern for Senator Mark Montigny, Jacob worked diligently to help pass health care legislation which made it easier for students to remain with their less-expensive plans under the state's Health Connector. 

Last year, Jacob received the 2014 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows Award. The Newman award recognizes a student's public involvement and motivation to create lasting change, inspiring not only other students, but their entire campus and surrounding communities. Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents--representing some 6 million students--who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. 

Recipients of the Truman Scholarship receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school and the opportunity to participate in professional development programming to help prepare them for careers in public service leadership. 

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant, public research university dedicated to engaged learning and innovative research resulting in personal and lifelong student success. The University serves as an intellectual catalyst for economic, social, and cultural transformation on a global, national, and regional scale.