University of Louisville Magazine

FALL 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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54 UOFLMAGAZINE.COM F rom the classroom to the White House, the University of Louis- ville's McConnell Scholars alumni are making an impact on thousands of American lives every day. McConnell Scholar alumnus Scott Jennings, 00A, is a "political junkie," who worked on multiple presidential campaigns, including being appointed special assistant to President George W. Bush in 2005. He also founded a public relations firm in Kentucky and recently signed on with CNN as a political commentator. Coming from the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, he credits the McConnell Center with providing experi- ences critical to his success. "I think the mission of the McConnell Cen- ter — to train Kentucky's next generation of leaders — has become a personal mission for me professionally," Jennings said. "If we can all be responsible for helping people who come after us learn and grow, we can make Kentucky a better place." Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, McCo- nnell Center alumna Diana Lalata, 17A, knows first-hand the plight that inner-city schools face. Her passion to improve pub- lic education led her to join the Breakthrough Collaborative, a nationwide program tar- geting underserved students in low-income areas. After spending the last two summers in inner-city Cincinnati, Lalata is now working with a similar organization in Louisville, providing after-school edu- cational opportunities. "The [McConnell] Center is really great about helping you find your own story by exposing you to other com- munities," Lalata said. "The staff and fellow scholars help you challenge your thoughts, push yourself further, and make you realize that you have a responsibility to help your community wherever you go." "Since the beginning, we've focused on our mission of finding, recruiting and nurturing outstanding young leaders for Kentucky, and our success is not surprising," center director Gary Gregg said. "When you bring great tal- ent together in an environment that pushes them intellectually while mentoring them professionally, you are going to end up with young leaders who can make a difference." Scott Jennings, 00A, on CNN. McConnell Scholars' impact felt coast to coast

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