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OU Student Juan Dills Named a 2024 Truman Scholar

Juan Dills posing for a headshot.

OU Student Juan Dills Named a 2024 Truman Scholar

April 23, 2024

NORMAN, OKLA. – University of Oklahoma honors student Juan Dills was named a 2024 Truman Scholar. Dills, an undergraduate student in the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, plans to pursue a Master of Social Work with a desire to address problems around imprisonment and reincarceration in U.S. prisons.

“I am honored to be selected for the Truman Scholarship this year,” he said. “While the funding is deeply generous and beyond helpful, it means so much more than just money for me. It’s a symbol of hope – that a foster kid can go on to do great things, that a single parent really can go back to school in their forties and succeed and that someone with a troubled past can find their redemption arc. This has been a wonderful journey, and I am deeply thankful to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. To those who have given me hope, I promise to pay it forward.”

Dills, a first-generation, nontraditional college student, is an active member of his community. He has volunteered with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission, coaches soccer and volunteers with youth programs.

“It fills me with immense pride to congratulate Juan Dills on being awarded the prestigious Truman Scholarship,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Juan’s journey, marked by resilience and dedication, has undoubtedly fueled his passion to improve the lives of others. We are eager to see his impact continue, embodying the spirit of excellence that defines the OU Family.”

Kelvin White, Honors College interim dean, added, "(Dills’) dedication to the field of social work exemplifies the transformative power of education in addressing societal challenges. Juan embodies the ethos of service, and his commitment to studying social issues is both inspiring and commendable. We look forward to witnessing his continued impact as he strives to improve lives in our world."

About this Award 

The Truman Scholarship, established by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, is a competitive scholarship for aspiring public service leaders. This year, 60 students were selected from 709 candidates nominated by 285 colleges and universities. This is the first time OU students have been selected in back-to-back years.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit

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