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Catherine L. Neale Named 2005 Truman Scholar

March 30, 2005 -- Catherine S. Neale, a third-year student at the University of Virginia, has been named a 2005 Truman Scholarship winner.

Neale, 20, a resident of Richmond, is among 75 students chosen for the award, which is worth about $30,000. Given by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, the award goes to college juniors who exhibit exceptional leadership potential and who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in public service. The scholarship provides financial support for graduate study and leadership training for students committed to public service.

Neale is a history and American studies major and plans to attend law school upon graduation from U.Va. She wants a career in public higher education, both as a law school instructor and a college administrator, and eventually hopes to become a university president.

“Education is a public good that needs to be available to all,” said Neale, who has been named the student representative to U.Va.’s Board of Visitors.

Neale has been involved with a variety of activities at the University. As well as being a member of the Board of Visitors, she is president of the Arts & Sciences Council, the first student representative on the U.Va. College Foundation, and a member of the student South Lawn Task Force, the U.Va. Master Planning Council, the Buildings and Ground Committee, the Student Buildings and Grounds Committee, the Student Council Legislative Affairs Committee, the University Guide Service and the Undergraduate Research Network.

Neale served as an intern for Sen. George F. Allen (R-Va.), state legislator Samuel A. Nixon Jr. (R-27th) and at the Virginia Board of Elections. Neale was also a volunteer and steering committee member for the John Hager for Governor campaign in 2001.

Neale received a 2004 Walter R. Kenan grant for summer research, which she used to research the history of slaves at U.Va.. “The University was built and sustained by slave labor until the end of the Civil War,” said Neale, who has written a 70-page research paper on the subject and plans to make it the topic of her senior thesis.

 “She wrote the most thorough and sensitive study we have of this volatile subject,” said Edward L. Ayers, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Neale’s adviser on the project.

Ayers described her as “visionary in her leadership, willing to try anything to build dedication to the ideals of liberal arts.”

“Catherine Neale is an exceptional student in a place that abounds in exceptional students, “ said Nicole F. Hurd, assistant dean and director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence. “She is a poised and ambitious intellectual who understands the value of public service and who is articulate in presenting her desires.”

Created though an Act of Congress and signed by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975, the foundation provides scholarships for students who demonstrate outstanding potential for and who plan to pursue a career in public service, and conducts a nationwide competition to select Truman scholars. The foundation awarded its first scholarships in the 1977-1978 academic year.

Contact: Matt Kelly, (434) 924-7291

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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