Great News! The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation (the
Foundation) and the Truman Scholars Association (TSA) have recently adopted a
joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring added structure to how the two
organizations work collaboratively to engage the Truman Scholar community in a
lifelong commitment to public service in all its forms.
This caps a tremendously productive
couple of years of re-engagement that yielded the largest single gathering of
Truman Scholars in June 2009 at the National Conference, the successful launch
of a $100,000 Annual Fund campaign, and the recent election of the most
generationally diverse TSA Board from classes 1981 through 2006.
So why execute a MoU now when
cooperation is so well assured? This is
precisely the time to seal this collaboration with a legal embrace that makes
the relationship all the more enduring.
We poured much thought into the eight numbered sections of the MoU. They do not just enumerate the types of Scholar
programming that we will continue to pursue in tandem, but they set some
serious expectations of how we will annually plan, budget, and strategize
This MoU should signal an important
change to older classes of Scholars who remember a time when the two
organizations seemed to keep their distance. To newer classes, this MoU
presents a challenge to take Scholar camaraderie beyond mere social networking
to deeper expressions of collaborating, including coming to the financial aid
of the Foundation and TSA in this current period of economic distress.
As a former Law School Dean, Foundation
Executive Secretary Frederick Slabach (MS ‘77) encouraged us to look at the
alumni development model in shaping this MoU.
Special thanks to Margaret Hu (KS ‘93) for her initial drafting
assistance. Applause goes to Pooja
Agarwal (MO ‘05) and her co-signatories, Fred Slabach and Max Sherman (Chair of
the Foundation’s Development Fund), for ushering in this era of higher
accountability in the Foundation and TSA relationship that will hopefully stand
the test of time.
Mark Cannon (OH ‘84) is a founding organizer of TSA,
a former Board member (2003-05), and co-chair of the Truman Scholars Annual
See also a Chronology of the TSA and the Truman