McConnell Scholars Program celebrates class of 2023

By Madelin Shelton
McConnell Scholars Program celebrates class of 2023

The McConnell Scholar Class of 2023 at the annual senior dinner

Louisville, Ky. (April 19, 2023) – The McConnell Center recognized the McConnell Scholar Class of 2023 Sunday at the Center’s annual senior dinner. The accomplished group of seven will graduate from UofL on May 13.

“My time at the McConnell Center was full of fellowship, scholarship, service, and intrigue. Between the academic programming and the time spent with each other, every visit to the McConnell Center left me feeling intellectually stimulated, loved, and valued. Devoting four years of study to being a McConnell Scholar has been the hallmark achievement of my academic career, and what I hope to be the cornerstone for my involvement as a University of Louisville alumnus.” – McConnell Scholar Jakob Sherrard ('23)

McConnell Scholars receive world-class opportunities including guaranteed full in-state tuition to UofL; mentored studies of classical literature and leadership; international and domestic travel; and access to the McConnell Center’s vast alumni network.

Students are also able to engage with some of the world's most prominent leaders. During their tenure at UofL, the McConnell Scholar Class of 2023 met with (among others):

  • U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
  • U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett
  • then-U.S. Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY, 3)
  • then-U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo
  • then-Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Joe Hockey
  • then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper


Sunday’s senior dinner program celebrated the 28th class to graduate from the McConnell Center. Graduating scholars include:

  • Allison Boarman (Owensboro, Ky.): Allison earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications. At UofL, she served as the secretary of the College of Arts and Sciences Freshman Council, the chair of the Student Activities Board Engaging Issues Committee, a summer clerical assistant for Daviess County High School, and a student assistant at the McConnell Center. After graduation, Allison will work in the digital marketing field.
  • Abigail Cheek (Versailles, Ky.): Abigail earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in political science. While at UofL, she worked for the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs, was involved with the Commonwealth Policy Coalition, and served as a coach for the KY YMCA’s youth Supreme Court and International Court of Justice programs. After graduation, Abigail will work as an entrepreneurship project manager at the Humana Health Equity Innovation Hub.
  • Sydney Finley (Louisville, Ky.): Sydney earned bachelor’s degrees in English and political science and a minor in peace, justice, and conflict transformation. She was a Woodford R. Porter Scholar, a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and served as the executive vice president of both the Black and Brown Honors Society and UofL’s Student Government Association. After graduation, Sydney will take a gap year before attending law school at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
  • Claire Harmon (Benton, Ky.): Claire earned bachelor’s degrees in library science and art history and minors in political science and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. At UofL, she served as the chair of the Library Student Advisory Board and volunteered with Court Appointed Special Advocates. After graduation, Claire will substitute teach in Jefferson County while exploring Kentucky and volunteering in her community.
  • Thomas Hulse (Lexington, Ky.): Thomas earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and political science and minors in German and mathematics. At UofL, he was a member of the McConnell Center’s undergraduate moot court team, the Society of Physics Students, and was involved in undergraduate research. After graduation, he will attend the Applied Physics Ph.D. program at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
  • Tanner Morrow (Auburn, Ky.): Tanner earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and Asian studies and minors in Mandarin Chinese and Chinese studies. At UofL, he was the chair of the McConnell Scholars Council, the director of internal coordination for the Student Government Association, and a Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute public health ambassador. After graduation, Tanner will enter the workforce.
  • Jakob Sherrard (Elizabethtown, Ky.): Jakob earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in English literature. At UofL, he was a College of Arts and Sciences senator, president of Beta Theta Pi, the Homeland Project chief of staff, and a student clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky. After graduation, Jakob will work for Thumbprint Consulting in a workforce development role.