Final Selection Committee Members Share Their Insights on Selecting Tillman Scholars

Blog | 06/25/2024

We will announce the 60 individuals in the Class of 2024 Tillman Scholars in just a couple of days! Before introducing these impressive change-makers, we would like to glimpse the selection process that brings together such exceptional people. 

Central to our mission is continuing to honor Pat Tillman’s legacy. We achieve this by carefully selecting scholars who embody the foundation’s core values — Humble Leadership, Scholarship, Service, and Impact —individuals who carry forward Pat’s values and spark positive change in the world.

Here are some of our esteemed members of the final selection committee who have shared their insights on what they look for in a Tillman Scholar:

Finding Pat’s Legacy in New Leaders:

Marie Tillman Shenton, Co-founder: “Having participated in the Scholar selection process for our 2024 Class, I am consistently impressed by the dedication of the chosen individuals. Each embodies Pat’s legacy in their own unique way. They come from diverse backgrounds, but all share a commonality towards a deep commitment to service, as demonstrated by their past volunteer work or military experience. Their academic pursuits reflect a hunger for knowledge and a desire to use their education to tackle significant challenges affecting today’s world and make a positive impact. These scholars are not just future leaders but also individuals passionate about inspiring others and creating a positive ripple effect on the world and in their community.”

Alex Garwood, Co-founder: “Serving on the Tillman Scholars selection committee is an incredibly humbling experience. We spend upwards of four months getting to know each candidate – their drive, intellect, humble leadership, and commitment to service. It’s about finding those individuals who genuinely embody how Pat Tillman lived his life. And let me tell you, when you come across someone who reflects his values – their selflessness, their courage, their desire to make a difference – it’s truly inspiring. After 20 years since we started this foundation, I’m struck by the incredible impact of the Tillman Scholars on the world, a ripple effect that continues to carry on Pat’s legacy in such a powerful way.”

Core Values: The Guiding Light

Christina Hundley, Founding Member, Pat’s Run: “My priority is to try to look at applicants through a lens that uses Pat as my compass.  What did he believe in?  What did he do with his time here?  What did he want to do with his life?  It all takes me back to when he was here, and we had those types of conversations.  I try to sift through the amazing information our applicants provide us and dig deep for not only the obvious and impactful, but also for things that might be more intangible. I try to figure out how they’ll  fit with the Scholar community, how they’ll help tell the Foundation’s story and how they’ll embody the Foundation’s  core values, the way Pat did. They set a standard that is undeniable and by living that standard they inspire others to do the same.”

The Ripple Effect in Action

Akhil Iyers, 2019 Tillman Scholar: “I myself am already inspired by the next cohort of Tillman Scholars!  I was inspired to do more as a scholar and do more in my profession.  The drive to advance a critical issue that each Tillman Scholar has dedicated themselves to, academically and professionally, is incredible.  And most importantly, each scholar clearly demonstrates an impassioned desire to share their cause and empower others to collectively tackle our world’s toughest challenges.”

The Tillman Scholar selection process is rigorous, but the rewards are immeasurable. By selecting individuals who embody Pat’s values, we ensure that his legacy of service, humble leadership, and impact inspires positive change for future generations.

We look forward to sharing the stories of our new Tillman Scholars and their journeys on Thursday, June 27!

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