WASHINGTON D.C. – University of South Dakota junior swimmer Josh Sorbe has been awarded a $30,000 Truman Scholarship, the nation’s premier graduate fellowship for those pursuing careers in public service.
Sorbe, a Brookings, native and a political science and economics double major, is USD’s 17th awardee since the scholarship’s inception in 1975.
Sorbe is a past Student Government Association (SGA) president and was one of 62 selected from among 840 candidates nominated by 346 colleges and universities. Honorees were chosen by 16 independent selection panels based on the finalists’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.
“Josh is a tremendous person, and I couldn’t be more proud of what he has accomplished,” said USD director of athletics David Herbster. “Being selected as a Truman Scholar truly exemplifies who Josh is as a student, athlete and leader.”
In addition to the financial benefit, Scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, demonstrate academic excellence, and be committed to careers in government or the non-profit sector.
“Josh exemplifies what it means to be a STUDENT-athlete,” said USD head swimming and diving coach Jason Mahowald. “He has consistently demonstrated that you can be a great leader on campus as well as on the athletic field. We are unbelievably excited for Josh to receive this honor, and know that he will continue to be a leader on our campus.”
Since arriving at USD, Sorbe has served three terms on the SGA, interned for former United States Representative Tim Walz in Washington, D.C., and worked for USD alumnus and Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor (‘06) in Saint Paul, Minn. He now serves as executive director of the South Dakota Student Federation. As executive director, Sorbe is the student representative of the South Dakota Regental Institutions to the governor’s office, the Board of Regents and the state legislature.
Throughout his collegiate career, Sorbe has competed for the Coyotes’ men’s swimming and diving team. He has been a member of two all-Summit League relay teams and USD’s record-setting 800 freestyle relay.
Upon graduation, Sorbe plans to become a public school teacher. He explained that in order to improve policy, he must experience the needs in education first-hand.
“This process showed me the origin of my drive for public service: my South Dakota public high school and my K-12 teachers in the Brookings School District,” said Sorbe. “They inspired and helped build a leader that believes in himself, and I want to dedicate my career to helping young kids like me at the frontlines and eventually form the boardroom. I love South Dakota – rural America is worth an investment, and public education is the place to do it.”
The Truman Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Truman and the Presidential Memorial to Public Service. There have been 3,260 Truman Scholars selected since the first awards were made in 1977.
Sorbe and the other 61 Scholars will assemble May 21 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. They will receive their awards in a special ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., on May 26.