In early May the Shippensburg University Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha, the national public administration and affairs honor society, held its inaugural induction ceremony as a part of the Celebration of Public Service Excellence event.
The event was held during National Public Service Recognition Week in partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).
Over 75 SU undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and administrators came together to network with professionals and public officials from the region. James Mike, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Curtis Berry, chairperson of the department of political science, and Marita Kelley, president of the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of ASPA, welcomed the guests.
The keynote speaker, Ronnie Tucker, associate professor of political science and Pi Alpha Alpha Chapter President, then shared remarks on the importance of ethical leadership. According to Tucker, it is important for public servants to build trust with their constituents. He urged the audience, “Remember to always take the high road to integrity and not fall into the low road to compliance.”
The chapter also recognized three individuals for their distinguished public service.
First, Nancy Dering Mock, former Deputy Secretary for Human Resources and Management in the Governor’s Executive Offices for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, received the ASPA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Barry Schoch, Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation, received the Excellence in Public Service Award.
Finally, Phil Wolgemuth, a graduate student in the MPA program, received the Outstanding Student in Public Administration Award. Humbled by this honor, Wolgemuth requested that the award name be changed to “Outstanding Students in Public Administration” because his success was influenced and inspired by his classmates.
Amanda Olejarski, Pi Alpha Alpha faculty adviser and Tucker inducted undergraduate and Master of Public Administration (MPA) students into the Pi Alpha Alpha honor society at Shippensburg University.
Timothy H. Carr Jr., MPA student and honor society inductee, remarked that it was a great event, as it brought together “people passionate about the ideals of public service and how to provide better services to the public.” Another inductee, MPA student Kathryn Lawson, said it was “such an honor to be a part of tonight’s events.”
Overall, the event provided a tremendous kick-off to the relationship between the university and ASPA as students, academics and professionals shared conversations and insights about the opportunities, challenges and rewards of working in public service.