West Virginia University student Matt Delligattis list of accomplishments reads like a how-to guide to a successful political campaign.
First, he was student body president of his middle school.
Then he decided to pursue a political science major in college.
Recently, he was elected a city councilman.
And now hes become a Truman Scholar.
Whats more, the Fairmont native is only 20 years old.
Delligatti just landed a spot among the nations elite students and a place in WVU history as a 2007 Truman Scholar.
The WVU junior was one of 65 students in the country to be selected in the competitive national Truman Scholarship programreserved for students with exceptional leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of making a difference. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is making the announcement today (March 27).
Delligatti was chosen from among 585 candidates and is the only student from a West Virginia college or university to receive the honor this year.
His road to politics has been unusual. While most Truman Scholars are preparing for careers in public service, he is already discussing city budgets and ordinances as the youngest member of the Fairmont City Council. In January, he was sworn in for a four-year term.
Hes not just an outstanding scholar, but hes actively engaged in politics and electoral politics in particular,said Jeff Worsham, a WVU political science professor who taught Delligatti last year in a public administration class.He saw that some things could be improved and is applying things he has learned in the classroom to real life.
Usually when we think of Truman Scholars, we think of what they may do in the public realm, and this is someone who is already engaged in the governing process,Worsham said.I cant think of a Truman Scholar whos done that. That makes him truly unique.
Delligatti plans to attend law school and become a public defender or attorney for a state agency. He would like to pursue a political career as well.
My principle reason for wanting to assist the community as an attorney or public servant is that I want to provide all the citizens of West Virginia the same opportunities I have been blessed with,he said.So often, many of our citizens are not given a fair opportunity whether in the judicial system or political system based upon their gender, race, age or economic class.
Delligatti said he would like to be a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, but his ultimate goal is to be governor.
He is the 18th WVU student to be honored with a Truman Scholarship since the first awards were made in 1977. Last year, Becky McCauley, a biology and chemistry major from Morgantown, was the only student in the country to be named both a Truman and Goldwater Scholar in the same year.
The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences is pleased and proud that Matt Delligatti has continued the Eberly tradition and has been designated a Truman Scholar,said Mary Ellen Mazey, dean of the Eberly College.This is an outstanding accomplishment for Mr. Delligatti personally. His selection once again demonstrates the quality of students in the college and the excellent instruction they receive.
Bob DiClerico, Eberly Distinguished Professor in WVU s Department of Political
Science, added,The individual for whom this scholarship is named said that the job of the president is to speak for those who have no voice in the councils of government. In even a brief conversation with Matt, you will quickly discover that he intends to do precisely that in public office. Harry Truman would be proud to know that this young man holds the scholarship that bears his name.
Delligatti is a member of the Mountain and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science) honoraries, WVU Child Care Student Focus Group, WVU Young Democrats, Sociology and Criminology Club and Italian-American Organization.
His community activities include Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, Marion County Meals on Wheels and the Knights of Columbus. He has also participated in the Frasure-Singleton Student Legislative Program, volunteered as an election day worker and interned with the West Virginia Department of Highways.
His parents are JohnSkeeterand Karen Delligatti.
Each Truman Scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study. The 2007 Truman Scholars will gather May 15 for a leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and receive their awards during a special ceremony May 20 at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo.