The son of immigrants seeking higher education opportunities, Bobby Jindal has become a rallying point for the Indian-American community. In 2007, Jindal was elected the 55th governor of Louisiana, making him the youngest governor in the country at 36. This also made him the first Indian-American governor in the history of the U.S. A member of the Republican Party, Jindal received praise for the way he handled the situation prior to the Louisiana landfall of Hurricane Gustav in 2008. He issued mandatory evacuation orders for the state's coastal areas and oversaw one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. Prior to his governorship, Jindal was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Among his many awards, Jindal has received the Samuel S. Beard Award, which is given annually by Jefferson Awards for greatest public service by an individual 35 years old or under. In 2011, he also received the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award for "outstanding public service” from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Jindal is a graduate of Brown University, where he made quite a name for himself. Although he was offered scholarships at other universities, Jindal's parents paid for him to attend Brown, primarily because he was accepted into the school's unique Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), which guaranteed an undergraduate freshman a place in Brown's medical school. As Jindal felt beholden to his father, he did a double major, taking biology for his dad, who wanted him to be a doctor, and policy for himself. He eventually forfeited his place in the PLME program, feeling it wasn't fair to tie up a coveted slot when he was ambivalent. Nevertheless, he would still be accepted into medical school and law school at Harvard and Yale. During his final year at Brown, Jindal was named one of the Top 20 College Seniors in America by USA Today. In 1992, only 20 years old, he graduated with honors in two majors, biology and public policy. His GPA was a perfect 4.0.
Since graduating, Jindal has remained an active member of the Brown family. In 2003, at its Commencement Weekend meeting, the Corporation of Brown University elected Jindal to its Board of Trustees. In addition to this service, Jindal has also made the occasional return to his alma mater for public events. In 1998, for instance, Jindal was back on campus to deliver two different lectures which focused on the future of Medicare. Since then, Jindal has continued to publicly support his alma mater, which doesn't always support his conservative views. Back in Louisiana, he speaks fondly of his years on campus, of his professors, and of how much he enjoyed the intellectual exercise of defending his views to more liberal classmates at Brown.