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Rhodes Student Eric Dailey Named a 2010 Truman Scholar

Publication Date: 3/31/2010

Eric Dailey, a junior majoring in political science at Rhodes College, has been selected as a 2010 Truman Scholar. This highly competitive award has been bestowed by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation to only 60 college students nationwide out of 576 candidates this year. It provides generous financial support for graduate study in preparation for careers in government, public service, the nonprofit sector, or education. 

Dailey, who is the son of Thomas and Karen Dailey of North Little Rock, Ark., is active in Rhodes’ Kinney service program as the Education Area Coordinator and has been a Summer Service Fellow. After graduation, Dailey plans to pursue a master’s degree in urban education policy/teaching, and he aspires to become an urban school district superintendent.

“The application process for the Truman Scholarship was multifaceted. At Rhodes, I completed a 19-page application in addition to creating a public policy proposal. I also participated in rigorous screening and preparatory interviews with the Rhodes Steering Committee,” says Dailey. “As a finalist, I travelled to Nashville, Tenn. to be interviewed by the Truman Foundation staff. This interview was, to say the least, intense.”

Dailey’s favorite quote is “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.”

“When I first met Eric, it was clear within a few minutes of talking with him that he is devoted to making the world better and that he has the energy and talent to make his vision of a better world happen,” says Dr. Judith Haas, one of Rhodes’ Co-Directors of Post-Graduate Fellowships. “He has already put an enormous amount of energy into learning about how urban public schools work—and fail to work—and I am excited to see what he is going to be able to accomplish with the Truman.”

“Special thanks to Professor Judith Haas and Professor Arielle Goldberg, who serve as the chair of the committee and my personal faculty advisor respectively,” adds Dailey.  “The members of the Rhodes Steering Committee for Post-graduate Scholarships and Fellowships were crucial in helping me navigate the application process.  Professors Eric Henager, Steve Ceccoli, and Bernadette McNary-Zak  were members of the committee. Moreover, Professors Luther Ivory and Michael Kirby and Associate Dean Dwaun Warmack were generous to submit recommendation letters on my behalf.”

Dailey has been an active member of the Rhodes community since his first year when he established “Dining for Diversity,” an annual spring banquet that brings together people from Rhodes and the Memphis community to exchange ideas and dialogue about cultural issues. As a Summer Service Scholar, he worked with the Vollentine Evergreen Community Development Corporation organizing grassroots activities with emphasis on crime prevention, community revitalization, urban education, and faith-based initiatives.

In the Kinney program, he has served as Coordinator for Special Projects and is now entering his second year as Coordinator for Education. During this time, Dailey has initiated two partnerships—“Snowden College Days” and “College Day with Promise Academy”—that further contribute to Rhodes’ commitment to service.

Dailey also has participated in Rhodes’ ENVISION leadership program as a member and mentor in addition to  serving as a Community Development Intern through the City of Memphis, a Junior Policy Development Specialist at the Memphis City School District, a Rhodes Student Associate for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and a member of several college search committees. Dailey says he is pleased to be a part of such an amazing group of leaders and is indebted to the members of the Rhodes community who have allowed him to hone his leadership skills.

In 1975, the Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress as a federal memorial to the 23rd President, Harry S. Truman. The last Truman Scholar from Rhodes was named in 2004. 

Tags: Honors, Students

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