U student named Truman Scholar

Bryson Morgan was raised with an ingrained sense of respect for public service.

As a child, he received nightly civic lessons at the dinner table as he listened to his mother, a Democrat in the Utah Legislature, and his father, a firm conservative, debate the issues of the day.

Morgan took this emphasis on civic involvement to heart. He was named one of 65 national recipients of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship yesterday for his undergraduate work in politics.

“I grew up with politics,” Morgan said. “I kind of had the model family as far as training somebody to be civically engaged.”

The scholarship is awarded each year to students planning to receive a graduate education in public service. More than 3,000 students applied for the award.

While he is not sure at what capacity of government he will serve, Morgan said he wants to work to improve the democratic system he grew to respect as a child but now finds in a horrible state of disrepair.

“There’s plenty of room for improvement,” Morgan said.

He plans to focus his education on improving the quality of governance in three areas he says are in need of reform: campaign finance laws, redistricting practices and restrictions on lobbyists.

Morgan, a junior in political science and economics, said he will use the scholarship to pursue degrees in public administration and law.

University of Utah President Michael K. Young presented Morgan with the scholarship.

“(This) is an incredibly competitive and selective award that honors only the finest students in the nation?Morgan is an exceptional representative of the University of Utah who will continue to do remarkable things,” Young said in a written statement.

Truman Scholars receive $30,000 for graduate study, priority admission to top graduate schools, leadership training and opportunities for reserved government fellowships.

Morgan said that while the money is attractive, the scholarship is most valuable for the advantage it gives students when applying to graduate schools.

During his time at the U, Morgan has held numerous leadership positions. He has worked as an assistant in the Hinckley Institute of Politics for the past four years and was director of Government Relations for the student government.

He also founded the campus chapter of VoteProject, which registered more than 6,000 people to vote in 2004, and created the Presidential Ambassadors program to place student lobbyists at the Legislature for the U.

Morgan has also completed two internships through the Hinckley Institute, one at the state Legislature and another with the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C.

Kirk Jowers, director of the politics institute and a former Truman Scholar, said Morgan has a promising career ahead of him.

“Bryson (Morgan) stands out as one of the top two students I have ever worked with due to his sheer intellect, leadership and diplomatic skills, work ethic and charming charisma,” Jowers said in a written statement.