The Bush School of Government and Public Service celebrated the Class of 2022 graduates on Friday, May 13, recognizing their achievements during a unique time in higher education. Two celebration events took place: one at 9 a.m. for students matriculating from the Department of International Affairs (INTA), and one at 11 a.m. for students matriculating from the Department of Public Service and Administration (PSAA).
Many students came to the Bush School in the fall of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic introduced significant changes in the structure of graduate education. They successfully adjusted both to the rigors of a Bush School master’s program and the added challenges brought on by the pandemic, transforming into a well-rounded cohort of public servants equipped to overcome whatever adversity and opportunity the future holds for them.
Bush School Dean Gen. (R) Mark A. Welsh III, provided opening and closing remarks for each event.
He encouraged the graduates, “Don’t be afraid to be really good at whatever you do. This world needs your talent. We need your energy, your commitment, your ideas, your smile in the morning. It needs you; each of you, in all your glory.”
At the 9 a.m. celebration, International Affairs Department Head Dr. F. Gregory Gause III recognized two U.S. Army fellows in the cohort: LTC Tony Fears and COL Travis Mills. Dr. Gause then presented certificates to 77 Master of International Affairs and 10 Master of International Policy graduates. Elvira Kalmurzaeva Kalmuerzza, from Kyrgyzstan, was the class speaker.
“Most of you will become policymakers and make decisions at various levels. I hope that you never forget that your choice will impact many lives and the burden is real,” said Elvira.
Public Service and Administration Department Head Dr. Lori Taylor presented certificates to 79 Master of Public Service and Administration and Executive Master of Public Service and Administration graduates at the 11 a.m. celebration. Jake Bronson served as class speaker.
In addition, Dr. Ann O’M. Bowman, professor and Hazel Davis and Robert Kennedy endowed chair, presented the Vedlitz Award for Excellence in Science and Technology Policy Studies to student Claude Christensen. The award recognizes a student whose performance in the field of science and technology policy as part of work completed for classes, a capstone project, individual papers or as a graduate assistant researcher merits special distinction. Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy Director Arnold Vedlitz selected the recipient based on the nominations.
At each ceremony, the Bush School Class of 2022 honored distinguished faculty and staff members with Silver Star Awards. Students recognized the positive impact faculty members Dr. Reyko Huang (INTA) and Dr. Mallory Compton (PSAA) and staff members Julia Lawrence and Sherry Smith made in their lives and academic careers.
Every year, each graduating student at the Bush School nominates three faculty and three staff members to be awarded the Silver Star. From the pool of nominees, the graduation chair, also a student, identifies the employees who receive the most nominations in each category separated by department: PSAA faculty and staff, and INTA faculty and staff. Graduates from each department then vote on winners in their respective categories.