April 15, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 14

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    Third-year, selected from 600 finalists, wins a Harry S. Truman Scholarship

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Indivar Dutta-Gupta is the University’s newest Truman scholar.

    Third-year Indivar Dutta-Gupta has been named a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a distinction awarded to 80 or fewer American college students each year.

    The Truman Scholarship, created in 1975, awards grants of $26,000 to support the work of students who are viewed as “change agents,” individuals who are likely to make a difference through careers in public service.

    A dual concentrator in Political Science and Law, Letters and Society who was selected from a pool of more than 600 finalists, Dutta-Gupta, 21, aims to pursue a career that focuses on promoting human rights both at home and abroad. Specifically, Dutta-Gupta would like to work in human rights advocacy for a non-governmental organization, such as Oxfam or Amnesty International, and ultimately, for the executive branch of the U.S. government.

    Before attending graduate school, Dutta-Gupta hopes to work in a human rights-related position in Washington, possibly for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Following his Washington stint, he hopes to use his award to pursue graduate studies in international affairs, with a concentration in human rights, at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

    A native of Roswell, Ga., Dutta-Gupta has been deeply involved in campus human rights and public service since arriving at Chicago. He co-founded the University’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and was a founding member of Men in Service, a University Community Service Center program that links men with service opportunities.

    He also works for the University’s Human Rights Program and serves as the undergraduate student representative on the University’s Human Rights Board. He also is the Midwest representative on the National Campus Advisory Committee for Amnesty International.

    To receive the Truman scholarship, Chicago students must first gain the endorsement of the University’s Truman Scholarship Selection Committee, which includes Timothy Blackman, Associate Dean of Students for the Social Sciences Division; Allen Sanderson, Senior Lecturer in Economics; Lisa Wedeen, Professor in Political Science; and Nancy Jacobson, College Adviser.

    Truman candidates must demonstrate not only a history of campus leadership and a commitment to public service, but also academic and intellectual skill, said Jacobson, who heads the College’s Truman screening committee.

    Michael Green, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, who taught Dutta-Gupta in three classes during one year, admitted the then-second-year student into his graduate-level seminar, titled “Rights.” Dutta-Gupta’s curiosity, drive and willingness to take on academic challenges that may lead to imperfect execution, yet greater learning, impressed Green. “I expect that he will be a thoughtful, energetic and imaginative advocate for human rights in whatever field he enters,” Green said.

    Previous Chicago student recipients include Catherine Potter, who is currently working in the Washington office of Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin; Sean Campbell, who worked in the New York City Mayor’s Office before winning a Rhodes scholarship in 2003; and 1998 Truman scholar Elizabeth Evenson, who currently attends Columbia University’s law school.

    Congress established the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation in 1975, as the official federal memorial to honor the 33rd U.S. President and his commitment to public service. The foundation awards scholarships to college students who have outstanding leadership potential, who plan to pursue careers in government or elsewhere in public service and who wish to attend graduate school in preparation for their careers.