TSPA honors and celebrates graduates at awards ceremony

The Harry Truman School of Public Affairs celebrated the achievements of its graduate students with a reception and awards ceremony on May 12. Before graduation commencement, where more than 60 students graduated from the department, students and their families, faculty/staff joined in the MU Student Center’s Traditions Lounge for refreshments.

Several students received awards and honors including the Mel Carnahan Public Service Fellowship, the Institute of Public Policy GRA Appreciation Award, and Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.

Charles Menifield, Associate Dean of Academic Programs  inducted 21 students into Pi Alpha Alpha. Menifield said membership into the honor society represents the highest performance levels in educational programs preparing students for their public service careers.

Inductees to Pi Alpha Alpha present at the Award ceremony.

“The objectives of Pi Alpha Alpha foster integrity, professionalism and effective performance in the conduct of government and related public services activities,” Menifield said.

The following students were inducted: Ericka Andresen, Amanda Ball, Brandon Bamberg, April Colbrecht, Ian Edmonds, Alex Giovanoni, Nadine Goellner, Kory Hayward, Michael Ninson, Melissa Horn, Min Ho Kim, Bridget Doyle Kozlowski, Hannah McClure, Kyoung-Sun Min, Nathan Sanfilippo, Laura Schneider, Benjamin Shaffer, Kristen Thayer, Scott Todd, Frederick Wiafe, and Daniel Zozaya Brown.

Laura Schneider, recipient of the Stanley B. Botner Award, with Dean Bart Wechsler and Associate Academic Dean Charles Menifield.

MPA graduate Laura Schneider was awarded the Stanley Botner award. This award is in memory of Dr. Botner a former member of the Public Administration faculty and recognizes a graduating MPA student who has exhibited strong academic skills, professional integrity and devotion to public administration.

At the ceremony, Dean Barton Wechsler shared comments from the faculty about Schneider.

“Laura is committed, hardworking and responsible in all of her work,” Wechsler said. “She exudes confidence and competence while maintaining a healthy does of humility. Laura demonstrates a commitment to the highest quality in her work products and a devotion to public service values.”

The ceremony also recognized the school’s online program, which is currently in its fourth year. Wechsler said over 100 students are pursuing their MPA online and several online students were in attendance the ceremony from as far as Washington state, Washington D.C. and Texas.

At the end of the ceremony, Wechsler closed by reminding students to stay connected. He said make the most of their educational experience and stay connected to the faculty, classmates, the Truman School and MU campus. Also, he suggested to students to find ways to participate including mentoring students, attending sporting events and bringing potential students to the Truman School.

“Remember one important way to give back is through financial support in the future,” Wechsler said. “Eventually consider making annual gifts. This university is 175 years strong only because of private support from the first year when 900 community volunteers gave $117, 921 to bring the university to its home here in Columbia.”

Wechsler closed by stating that graduates could always come home because they would always be a part of the Truman School family.