Greg Nance has been named a 2010 Harry S. Truman scholar, one of 60 socially committed college juniors from around the United States to earn the award this year.
Nance, 21, a third-year political science major, plans to pursue a master's degree with his $30,000 Truman scholarship. He is considering applying to the Harvard School of Education, or he may pursue an MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management.
In addition to his coursework, Nance has focused on teaching financial literacy skills to urban high school students. During the scholarship application process, Nance presented a policy proposal on putting financial literacy programs in every public school in America.
"Greg is absolutely deserving of this honor," said John W. Boyer, Dean of the College. "He's done remarkable work to advance the cause of financial literacy in public high schools, and we hope that the Truman will help him expand this important work."
In the fall of 2008, Nance co-founded Moneythink to educate urban youth on issues of financial literacy. As a member of The Blue Chips investment club on campus, Nance recruited fellow members and friends to help him launch the mentoring program, which would teach financial life skills through classroom curricula, interactive discussions, computer research activities, and mock finance simulations. Through peer mentoring, high school students learn about saving, budgeting, goal setting and the basics of credit and debt.
Moneythink has been successfully taught at six South Side high schools and has 595 high school program graduates. The organization has raised more than $14,000 for financial literacy awareness and has chapters at 10 college campuses across the country.
"It is incentivizing sound financial habits," Nance said. "If you have $500 and are budgeting for a trip, or want to help pay the gas bill, for example."
Nance was selected from a pool of 576 applicants representing 245 colleges and universities. Each accredited four-year U.S. educational institution is allowed to nominate up to four candidates for the Truman scholarship. Congress established the Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975 as the official federal memorial to Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. President. The awards are given to college juniors who are planning to attend graduate school, are planning to work in government or public service, and who exhibit outstanding leadership potential.
Before Tuesday's announcement, the University and Swarthmore College were tied for producing the most Truman Scholars over the past five years.
Nance had no idea he had won the award until Dean Boyer broke the happy news Tuesday morning. Mary Daniels, Senior Adviser in the College, asked Nance to go to Dean Boyer's office to take care of some additional paperwork for the Truman application.
"Wow," Nance said, after learning he had been named a 2010 Truman scholar. "My goodness." He later said he hoped the award would inspire current and future Moneythink students.
"One of our central messages is you create your opportunities," Nance said. "This is a good story for that."