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March 27, 2009

CCNY Junior Don Gomez, Iraq War Vet, Named 2009 Truman Scholar

NEW YORK, March 27, 2009 – Don Gomez, a junior at The City College of New York (CCNY) and a veteran of the U.S. Army who had two tours of duty in Iraq, has been named a 2009 Truman Scholar.

The Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 in funding to students pursuing graduate degrees in public service fields.  It is one the most prestigious and competitive national scholarship programs, awarding between 60 and 65 scholarships annually to a field of 600 – 700 nominated candidates.    

“I am very pleased to have been awarded the Truman Scholarship, but what makes it so special for me is that so many people have helped me achieve this,” Mr. Gomez said.  “Between City College and the military, I have sent emails to over 50 people to thank them for their support.”

Mr. Gomez is an international studies major with a 3.85 G.P.A. as well as a Colin Powell Fellow with the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at CCNY.  A resident of Bellerose, Queens, who commutes two hours each way to get to campus, he transferred to CCNY from Guilford County Community College in Greensboro, N.C.

As a member of the U.S. Army infantry from 2001 to 2006, he served tours of duty in Iraq from February 2003 to January 2004 and from May to August of 2005, and held the rank of sergeant at the time of his discharge.  He earned several medals as a paratrooper including the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Parachutists Badge.

Since coming to CCNY, he has been active in Veterans Affairs on several levels.  He established the City College Veterans Association, a student club, and has been actively involved in the effort to establish a Veterans Affairs office on campus.  In May 2007, he spoke along with Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.), ’58, financier Jerome Kohlberg and others at a press conference held at City College to advocate for the new G.I. Bill of Right that was passed by Congress shortly after. 

“City College has produced generations of pioneering leaders who have shaped virtually every field of endeavor in America. There is no doubt in my mind that Don Gomez will take his place among them,” said CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams in congratulation Mr. Gomez on becoming a Truman Scholar.  “As much as any student I have met over my 40-year career in higher education, Don is a leader of men and women.”

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as a living memorial to Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States.  Its mission is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service; and to provide them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.

Scholarship recipients are selected based on a combination of career and graduate study interests, community service and academic achievement.  Mr. Gomez is the second CCNY student in as many years and the third in five years to receive Truman Scholarships.  David L.V. Bauer, a 2009 Rhodes Scholar who will attend University of Oxford in the fall, won in 2008; Claudio Simpkins, now a third-year student at Harvard Law School, won in 2005.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847 The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines.  Over 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.  For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.

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