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Mr. Hatch goes to Washington: Alumnus reflects on time as Truman Scholar

Recent College of Idaho graduate Tyler Hatch ’13 had never lived in a big city before he stepped foot in our nation’s capital as a 2012 Truman Scholar. The Supreme Court building, U.S. Capitol and Lincoln Memorial each saluted Hatch and his Truman peers as winners of one of academia’s most prestigious national awards. 

“If you would have asked me back in sophomore year what I would be doing after college, I would have never guessed I would be living in D.C. and working with the government,” Hatch said.

After graduating from the C of I, Hatch spent the last two years working within the U.S. Trade Representative Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with People for the American Way, a nonprofit that fights for progressive values: equal rights, freedom of speech, religious liberty and equal justice under the law for every American.

“Winning the Truman is probably the most transformative experience that has happened to me,” Hatch said.

Being at the epicenter of government, Hatch has been able to experience things first-hand. He was at the Supreme Court for the McCutcheon and Prop 8 rulings, and he has met with public policy officials and seen how issues are approached from the nonprofit and government sectors.

Hatch currently is a policy analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services, where he looks at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage initiatives. He is excited about an upcoming project the department will launch, which documents human service needs of LGBT populations.

“The findings are extremely powerful and I am excited for it to be published this year,” Hatch said.

Tyler plans to continue his education at law school and afterward become a court clerk in either the D.C. or federal circuit courts as he climbs higher toward his dream.

“My life dream, probably since I was 11 or 12, was to be a Supreme Court Justice,” Hatch said.

Hatch also is adding another title to his repertoire—author. After writing op-eds and becoming a regular contributor for the online webpage Thought Catalog, the company reached out and asked if Hatch would write a memoir about his experiences growing up gay as a member of the conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He expects the book to come out in 2015. 

Hatch became the College’s third Truman Scholar, joining James Wonacott (1993) and Varina Van Veldhuizen (1984). He was encouraged and helped by various C of I professors in pursuit of the Truman award—professors who helped shape him while on campus, he said.

Hatch’s winning Truman policy proposal to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo advocated an amendment of the No Child Left Behind Act that would extend anti-bullying protection to students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are not protected in many states.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.