Rob Griffitts-Harper, a junior from Boise, Idaho, is one of 58 students nationwide to earn a 2022 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, becoming the fourth student from The College of Idaho to earn the rare distinction.
Griffitts-Harper, a Mountain View high school graduate, was one of 189 finalists nationwide and the only one from an institution in the state of Idaho. View the official Truman Foundation announcement here.
“I really did not expect to even be a finalist,” said Griffitts-Harper, who is double-majoring in history and Spanish. “Knowing that right after I graduate, I have an immediate job and a plan is pretty unique.”
Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, which Griffitts-Harper plans to use for law school. Immediately upon graduating from the College in the spring of 2023, Griffitts-Harper will go to Washington, D.C., to complete a professional internship as part of the Truman Scholarship before attending law school. Griffitts-Harper’s pursuit of the Truman Scholarship was strongly supported by Dr. Mee-Ae Kim, the Klara K Hansberger Endowed Professor of History at the College. Kim has advised and mentored Griffitts-Harper for three years.
“I don’t even know what the peak is for Rob,” Kim said of Griffitts-Harper. “I think we have an exciting time ahead to watch Rob grow and (to watch) Rob become an extraordinary leader.”
Griffitts-Harper’s application dealt with affordable housing, with this description from the Foundation’s list of Scholarship recipients: “Robyn is passionate about expanding access to housing and mitigating discrimination based on ability, race, and sexual orientation. They plan to pursue a JD to represent clients at risk of eviction, experiencing homelessness, or facing discrimination, as well as to support community members through free or sliding-scale legal advice.”
The Truman Scholarship is designed for students who plan to pursue careers in public service. According to David Douglass, Provost and Dean of Faculty at the College, the Truman Scholarship is one of the top scholarships available in the country, along with Rhodes Scholarships and Goldwater Scholarships. Griffitts-Harper was also among the first five students at the College to be awarded the Horatio Alger Scholarship funded by the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation as a first-year student.
Tyler Hatch ‘13 is the last student from the College to earn a Truman Scholarship, doing so in 2012. Hatch helped Griffitts-Harper to apply for the scholarship, especially preparations for application interviews with the Foundation.
As described by the Truman Scholarship Foundation, the scholarship was established by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Harry S. Truman and national monument to public service. It carries the legacy of our 33rd President by supporting and inspiring the next generation of public service leaders. When approached by a bipartisan group of admirers near the end of his life, President Truman embodied this commitment to the future of public service by asking Congress to create a living memorial devoted to this purpose, rather than a traditional brick-and-mortar monument. For more than forty years, the Truman Foundation has fulfilled that mission: inspiring and supporting Americans from diverse backgrounds to public service.
Previous Truman Scholars from The College of Idaho:
2012 – Tyler Hatch
1993 – James Wonacott
1982 - Varina Van Veldhuizen
The College of Idaho has a 130-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.