Killian McDonald

Killian McDonald
Image Credit: LInda Tindal

CLEMSON — Killian H. McDonald of Columbia, a junior political science and women’s leadership double major, has been named a 2017 Truman Scholar. McDonald is Clemson’s first Truman Scholar since 1979 and the second Clemson student ever to receive the award.

The Truman Scholarship is a prestigious, highly competitive graduate scholarship program for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. Sixty-two Truman Scholarships were given this year to college juniors who are planning careers in public service, according to Ricki Shine, director of major fellowships for Clemson. The 2017 Truman Scholars were selected from among a near-record number of applications, with 768 applications and nominations from 315 colleges and universities – the highest number in the scholarship’s history.

“I am so excited to have been selected as a Truman Scholar,” McDonald wrote. “This scholarship reaffirms and supports my goal of entering public service and fighting for women’s rights. It is an honor to be a part of the Truman community and connect with mentors who can help me become a great public servant.”

The scholarships were announced on April 12 by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. The 2017 Truman Scholars will receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, on May 28.

As a Truman Scholar, McDonald will receive a scholarship to be used toward graduate school, along with opportunities to participate in professional development programming and internships to help her prepare for a career in public service leadership.

“I plan to attend graduate school for a master’s in public policy once I graduate,” McDonald added. “This scholarship will help cover the cost of graduate school and connect me with a network of distinguished Truman scholars. The scholarship will also give me an opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C., the summer before I attend graduate school. I hope to use this opportunity to intern for EMILY’S List and work to get more women elected to office. My career goal is to be lobbyist for women’s rights and work to further women’s rights and representation.”

McDonald arrived at Clemson in 2014 as a National Scholar. Throughout her years at Clemson, she has been a dedicated and adept student and an engaged and capable leader. She was elected just last month as president of Clemson Undergraduate Student Government. McDonald serves as an officer in her service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, as well as the Clemson College Democrats. She is a Dixon Global Policy Scholar and a founding member of the Clemson Feminist Club.

At the national level, McDonald earned a position last summer as a government relations intern for the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington D.C. She is a Writing Fellow of the Clemson Writing Center and has served as a mentor and ambassador for the Calhoun Honors College.

“Killian McDonald is already a superb leader with a deep commitment to improving the world,” wrote Shine in her letter of nomination. “She has unlimited potential as a leader who will help improve the lives of women and children.”

“The Truman Fellowship is well deserved,” wrote Diane Perpich, director of Clemson’s women’s leadership program. “Killian is an extraordinary student and engaged already in important research on women in politics. The Truman scholarship will allow her to pursue that research and its policy implications.”

More information about the 2017 Truman Scholars is available on the foundation’s website.

“This is wonderful accomplishment for Killian, and it is a reflection of what an outstanding person, student, leader and potential public servant she is,” wrote Jeff Fine, associate professor of political science.

For more information about the scholarship program and the foundation, read the complete Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation news release.