Junior Jason Surdukowski awarded Harry Truman scholarship

Bates College junior Jason Surdukowski of Concord, N.H., a double major in studio art and political science, has been named a 2001 Harry S. Truman Scholar, one of 70 students nationwide to receive a $30,000 scholarship awarded on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and the likelihood of “making a difference.” The 70 scholars were selected from among 592 candidates nominated by 303 colleges and universities. Each scholar will receive $3,000 for the senior undergraduate year and $27,000 for two or three years of graduate study. Those selected must be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

“I am humbled by the faith the Truman Foundation has expressed in my potential to live a life of active public service,” Surdukowski said. “The graduate work that the scholarship supports will bring me another step closer to my goal of working to ‘make gentle the life of this world.’”

Surdukowski hopes to complete M.A. and J.D. degrees and pursue a career that includes international law and public office. An art critic for The Bates Student, the campus newspaper, and president of The Representative Assembly, Bates’ student government, Surdukowski is planning a senior thesis that relates the discourse of law to the reality of genocide. A show of his work that focuses on human rights issues will travel to Amherst and Swarthmore colleges this year. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport recently selected two of his pieces for display it its 2001 exhibit “The Next Generation.”

Surdukowski’s artistic expression often reflects his political concerns. “My art is one kind of activism for me,” he said. “Art is a power, a bully pulpit, a concentrated and strong discourse.” When Surdukowski won a Humanity and Action Foundation Fellowship to study human rights and the Holocaust in Holland last summer, he immediately knew that his required outreach project would be artistic. “Art is the way I can most concretely reach people,” he explained. Surdukowski is a 1998 graduate of Concord High School.

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