April 6, 2010

Trustee liaison wins Truman Scholarship

Third-year Greg Nance was awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship Tuesday for his work on incorporating financial literacy into public school curricula.

In 2008, Nance founded an RSO called American Investment Fellows, which teaches Chicago Public Schools teens basic investment techniques and the value of saving. The program paired students with business professionals and had them compete in teams to build the best mock portfolios.

That programming grew into Moneythink, which has spread to six Chicago schools and insprired similar groups on 12 college campuses. Moneythink is an after-school program led by U of C student volunteers and focuses more on teaching students basic economic principles and practical financial skills.

Nance, who serves as the undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees, has long been interested in education reform and financial literacy. He began to learn about finance when he was 14, working with his father to invest his college fund. “The University of Chicago soon took [all the profits] back,” Nance said.

Nance learned of the award Tuesday after Dean John Boyer called him into his office. Nance called his mother, who was driving to work on a Seattle Freeway and started crying in joy. “It was a great way to start the day,” Nance said.

Nance joins a long list of Truman scholars from the U of C, including four in the past five years. According to Boyer, the public policy focus of the scholarship provides a counterbalance to the University’s theory-based reputation. “I especially admire his ability to blend scholarly theory with real-world problems,” Boyer said.

The Truman Scholarship is a $30,000 prize awarded to juniors who show a commitment to public service. This year, 576 nominees were narrowed down to 60 winners. Nance plans to use the award for postgraduate work in either business or education policy.