Date Released: March 10, 2017


By D. Aileen Dodd


Morehouse College Junior Derrick Parker '18 of Kansas City, Mo., was named as a finalist for the elite Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a national award that funds $30,000 of the graduate studies of outstanding students.

Parker is a political science major and the first in his family to attend college. He has a 4.0 grade point average and is a Gates Millennium Scholar. He hopes to attend Harvard Law School after he completes his senior year at Morehouse College.

Parker says his parents are extremely proud of his academic success.

“My dad is a barber; my mom is a machine operator,” he said. “They have been such a great support system to me over the years. But, I knew in high school that my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. My goal was to go to college and not have my parents pay a dime. I intend to stick to that goal.”

Parker was nterviewed by the selection committee for the Truman Scholarship Foundation during spring break. Nearly 200 students from 136 colleges and universities are competing for the honor as finalists. The 2017 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced in late April during the program's 40th anniversary year. Nearly 3,000 Truman Scholarship recipients are working to make a difference throughout the nation and the world. 

“We are honored that Morehouse scholar Derrick Parker has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Truman Scholarship,” said John Silvanus Wilson Jr., President of Morehouse College.

“The recipients of this distinguished award are recognized nationally as young leaders on the rise who have the talent to be change agents in their communities. They are committed to public service and achieve a high standard of excellence in their pursuit of careers in education, law, government, and in the nonprofit sector.

“Truman Scholars receive much-needed scholarship funds to cover the expense of graduate school in exchange for serving the community for three years after they complete their degree,” Wilson said. “The experience helps Truman Scholars understand that we have a responsibility as Americans to give back to communities in need. We teach this same principle to the men of Morehouse.”

Parker said several people helped to guide him through the Truman Scholar nomination process. He received assistance from Morehouse professors Winfield Murray and Melvin Rahming. Parker said he also received help from 2015 Truman Scholar winner Darrius Atkins ’16.

Parker has a strong record of community service and activism, both at Morehouse College and in metro Atlanta.

He interned for the U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and was a campaign manager for City Councilman Jermaine Reed. Last summer, Parker was one of the youngest students selected to participate in the prestigious Harvard/NYU Trials Law program.

Parker currently serves as Morehouse College’s attorney general for the Student Government Association, a presidential ambassador, and as vice president of the Moot Court team. He is a member of the Morehouse College Pre-Law Society; and Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.

Parker would like to work in politics after he finishes his law degree and works as an attorney. He says he will eventually run for mayor of his hometown and later, the highest office in the land. 

“I think that in our community, we need leaders who young people can look up to as a source of inspiration and hope,” Parker said. “Being a political leader allows me to do that. We just had President Barack Obama to leave office. He has inspired a whole generation of Americans to realize that they can be President of the United States."

Last Modified: June 8, 2017, 13:06 PM, by: Synera Shelton

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