Hovakimian Wins Truman Fellowship
Patrick Hovakimian, an Occidental College politics major from Walnut Creek, is one of 77 winners of the highly competitive Truman Scholarship.
The $26,000 prize is given to college juniors who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and plan to use those skills in public service careers.
“It is indeed an honor to be elected a Truman Scholar,” said Hovakimian, a 2001 graduate of Northgate High School. “This award will help me pursue graduate studies and a career in public service, which I believe is the best means to achieve personal satisfaction and the only way to ensure the potential of the human existence is realized. Those of us who are fortunate enough to receive a first-rate education and college experience have an obligation to enter public life and apply our skills for the betterment of our communities.”
Hovakimian said the scholarship will help him to attend law school, after which he hopes to run for public office. Hovakimian is particularly interested in reforming the tort liability system. He supports personal protection insurance, which allows consumers the choice of purchasing single-payer policies that insure against their own losses and eliminate the necessity to sue to recover damages, thus better compensating bodily injury victims.
“Such a policy would also help address the rising, sometimes prohibitive, costs of auto insurance by lowering premium rates and making auto insurance – a social necessity – more available to urban populations, which are discriminated against under the current tort liability system,” Hovakimian said.
Larry Caldwell, the Cecil H. and Louise Gamble Professor in Political Science, called Hovakimian one of Occidental’s strongest Truman nominees ever. “We are proud of his selection, but are not at all surprised,” Caldwell said. “Patrick is committed to public service, to the law and to reform of basic shortcomings in the American legal system.”
Hovakimian is the fifth Occidental student in the last decade to win the Truman Scholarship. He has served in the Associated Students of Occidental College Senate and, this semester, worked for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service. The organization mediates community conflicts and tensions arising from differences in race, color and national origin.
The Harry Truman Scholarship Foundation is based in Washington, D.C., and serves as a memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. Former Truman scholars serve as managers of government programs, legislators and aides, foreign service officers, teachers, staff members in policy analysis and research organizations, attorneys for government agencies, public defenders, professors, and professional staff in advocacy organizations and not-for-profit institutions.