Partridge awarded Truman Scholarship

Posted April 02, 2012

Senior Brittany Partridge is among this year’s class of Truman Scholars, an elite group of students from across the nation recognized for proven leadership skills, intellectual ability and a shared determination to make a real difference in the world.

Partridge is the first ACU student to receive the prestigious award since the Truman Scholarship Foundation began presenting grants in 1977. While a freshman at Abilene Christian, she co-founded the Red Thread Movement, which raises awareness about international sex trafficking and provides safe houses for girls rescued from prostitution. The movement has spread to 75 university campuses across the United States.

"We are so proud of Brittany," says ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert. "She's an incredible representation of our student body. We all see the way she's making the most of the passion that God has given her to make a difference in the lives of those living on the margins of society. We know this is just the beginning of an amazing journey for her."

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive federal scholarship granted to U.S. college juniors, with funds in the amount of $30,000 to be applied toward a graduate education. According to The Washington Post, the Truman Scholarship's “sole aim is to pick out people with potential to become leaders – then provide support to help them realize their aspirations.” This year's recipients hail from such universities as Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Cornell, Princeton and Duke.

Congress created the scholarship in 1975 as a living memorial to Truman, the 33rd U.S. president. It is awarded annually to approximately 50-75 college juniors each year on the basis of four criteria: service on campus and in the community, commitment to a career in public service (government, uniformed services, research, education, or public interest/advocacy organizations), communication ability and aptitude to be a "change agent," and academic talent that would assure acceptance to a first-rate graduate school. More broadly, Truman Scholars possess intellect, leadership skills and passion that would make them a likely force for the public good in any field.

Partridge, a political science major from Annandale, Minn., plans to attend law school at Georgetown University. From there, she hopes to secure a position at the U.S. Department of Justice or Department of State.

"Seeking justice for people who are being exploited around the world, particularly in the area of human trafficking, is where I intend to devote my life's work," says Partridge. "Here at ACU, there is a great heart for justice, and I’ve experienced it working with the professors who have instilled a passion in me to follow this path."

"Rarely does one have the privilege to work with students who possess the combination of amazing intellectual capacity, natural leadership ability, passion to serve the world in its most broken places, and tireless work ethic," says Dr. Stephen Johnson, dean of ACU's Honors College. "Brittany's academic record is outstanding; she is a poised and determined leader; and she has impacted not only our campus, but many others across the country. Brittany is, quite simply, a world-changer."

"She is totally dedicated to the fight against human trafficking, as all Christians should be," says Dr. Neal Coates, professor and chair of ACU's Department of Political Science. "As one of our Pope Fellows, Brittany exemplifies the motto of our esteemed alumnus, Judge Jack Pope: Public service is a noble calling."

"Brittany has the mind of a scholar and the heart of a servant," says Dr. Mel Hailey, one of Brittany’s political science professors. "You can see in the way she lives that she does everything for the glory of God."

Watch a short video of Schubert surprising Partridge with the award announcement.

"Brittany's work at ACU is a great example of what we’re all about: helping students more clearly understand what God is calling them to do in this world," says Schubert. "Our mission is to give the young people who come here a passion to use their talents and abilities to make difference – to help them develop the courage to follow God's direction."