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By Kelley Bozeman

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Jay Varellas was one of 70 Truman Scholars named nationwide from among 592 candidates nominated by 303 colleges and universities.

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March 26, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – James (Jay) J. Varellas III, of Lexington, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, has been selected to receive a $30,000 Harry S. Truman Scholarship.  He is the eighth UK student to win this award.

Varellas, one of 70 recipients nationwide, was selected from among 592 candidates nominated by 303 colleges and universities.  An additional six to 10 scholars are expected to be announced on Monday, April 2.  Of the cash award, $3,000 is earmarked for his senior year and $27,000 for two or three years of graduate study.  Truman Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental funding at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

"The Truman Scholarship is a living memorial honoring our thirty-third president,"  said Kate Johnson, academic coordinator for the UK Honors Program.  "It is a very prestigious award given to only a handful of students nationwide each year.  The competition is very fierce."

Varellas will join the other scholarship recipients on May 20 for a week-long leadership development program at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.  He will receive his award in a special ceremony at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo. on May 27, 2001.

Truman Scholarships are awarded on merit to junior-level students at four-year colleges and universities.  These students have exceptional academic records, extensive backgrounds in public and community service, are committed to careers in government or elsewhere in public service and have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills.

 “Public service is crucial to the Truman Scholarship and Jay lives and breathes in the political world. He thinks globally, and that’s been quite an inspiration to me,” said Dan Rowland, history professor and director of the UK Gaines Center for the Humanities.

Both of Varellas' parents are attorneys and he believes he will end up in law school at some point.

"It's the lawyers who are most effective at creating change in our society," Varellas said.

"Every day we see things that could be better, things we can do to improve people's getting people more access to their government.  We need to figure out ways to build political structures to help people get in touch with the government," he added.

"I am very fortunate to win this scholarship and feel I have a responsibility to share what I've learned with others," he said.  "There are many students on this campus who are just as qualified to win this award as I am, I just got lucky."

Varellas, 22, a history major with a topical second major in International Development, is the son of James and Sandra Varellas, both graduates of the UK College of Law.  He is a graduate of Sayre High School in Lexington.

For more information on the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, visit

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