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USD Junior Josh Sorbe Selected as Truman Scholar

USD Student-Athlete Josh Sorbe portrait. Josh Sorbe was awarded a $30,000 Truman Scholarship.

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota junior Josh Sorbe has been awarded a $30,000 Truman Scholarship, the nation’s premier graduate fellowship for those pursuing careers in public service.

Sorbe, a Brookings native and a political science and economics double major, is USD’s 17th awardee since the scholarship’s inception in 1975. Sorbe is a member of the swimming and diving team and a past Student Government Association president.

The Truman Scholarship is a federal memorial to Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. In addition to the $30,000 scholarship for graduate student, each Truman Scholar receives priority admission and supplemental financial aid at leading graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

A total of 62 college juniors from across the nation were selected as new Truman Scholars. There was a total of 840 candidates nominated by 346 colleges and universities, the largest number of applicants from a record number of schools in recent history.

“We are incredibly proud of Josh. He has already made such an impact on our university as well as the state,” said President Sheila K. Gestring. “Being awarded this scholarship is testament to who he is as a person and how dedicated he is to serving our community.”

Since arriving at USD, Sorbe has served three terms on the Student Government Association, most recently serving as president. He interned for former United States Representative Tim Walz in Washington, D.C., and he worked for USD alumnus and Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor (’06) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He now serves as executive director of the South Dakota Student Federation.

Sorbe is also the student representative of the South Dakota Regental Institutions to the governor’s office, the Board of Regents and the state legislature. Throughout his collegiate career, he has competed for the men’s swimming and diving team – earning All-Summit League honors twice and breaking two school records – and will compete in his final season for the Coyotes next school year.

Upon graduation, Sorbe plans to first become a public school teacher. He explained that in order to improve policy, he must experience the needs in education first-hand.

“This process showed me the origin of my drive for public service: my South Dakota public high school and my K-12 teachers in the Brookings School District,” Sorbe said. “They inspired and helped build a leader that believes in himself, and I want to dedicate my career to helping young kids like me at the frontlines and eventually from the boardroom. I love South Dakota – rural America is worth an investment, and public education is the place to do it.”

Watch as Sorbe receives the news that he was awarded the Truman Scholarship.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News