From Maxwell Perspective...

90th Anniversary Observances

Look Who's 90 | Lectures, Panels, Symposia | 90th Anniversary Party | Gathering in Washington | Carrying Forward the Spirit of the Senator

Gathering in Washington

In November, Maxwell held a second anniversary party — at the School’s home in D.C., the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Among highlights was the awarding of the new Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award.

Partygoers in formal dress mingling
To view a complete video of the Night for Maxwell events, or just the seven-minute testimonial video:

The Maxwell School’s second big birthday party last fall — held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. — was many events combined.

It was a moment to mark history. Five large banners stationed around the pre-dinner reception area — and a testimonial video shown during dinner — reminded attendees how far the School has come in 90 years, in citizenship studies, interdisciplinary education, global reach, and facilities. And the communal joy about nine completed decades energized the entire evening.

Partygoers posing for photos, laughing, smiling and talking with each other
But the November 20 event was also about legacies. Maxwell presented the inaugural Daniel Patrick Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award, to recognize creative and passionate commitment to public service — values shared by the School and the late, longtime U.S. senator. The award builds upon Maxwell’s former public service award by focusing on the innovative conversion of ideas into action. And, with its first recipient, the Moynihan Award highlights an up-and-coming generation of public servants. The inaugural recipient was Lauren Bush Lauren who founded FEED Projects to direct funds to anti-hunger programs. (See " Carrying Forward the Spirit of the Senator" for more on Lauren.)

This event was also a time for the School to build on its great accomplishments in citizenship education, research, and engagement. Maxwell officially launched its Tenth Decade Project, by which the entire School is exploring new and enhanced ways to ready its programs for the challenges of its second century (now just 10 years away). The Washington event was a fund-raiser for the Tenth Decade Fund, which will support many of the initiatives being developed through the project. Nearly $900,000 has been raised for the fund through contributions from attendees and kick-off donor Gerry Cramer. (For more on the Tenth Decade Project, " Ideas for Tomorrow.")

Speakers addressing the audience
Among those speaking at the Maxwell School’s anniversary event in Washington, D.C., were (from top left): Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud; veteran CBS broadcast journalist Bob Schieffer; Lauren Bush Lauren, the CEO of FEED Projects and inaugural recipient of the Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award (see right); and longtime members of the Maxwell Advisory Board, Sean O’Keefe and Donna Shalala. (O’Keefe has since joined the Maxwell faculty, while Shalala completes her service as the president of the University of Mi-ami later this year.)
Among the revelers were alumni, students, faculty, and special guests (from top, l-r): Donna Shalala ’70 MSSc/’70 PhD (SSc) chats with Justin Cole ’11 BA (Econ/PSc/PSt), Dustin Brown ’01 MPA, and guest Mike Hagan; Syracuse-area businesswoman Anne Messenger, Moynihan awardee Lauren Bush Lauren (Messenger nominated her for the award), SU faculty member Ruth Chen (wife of Chancellor Syverud), and Lauren’s mother, Sharon Bush; former Maxwell staff member Anne Stewart ’78 MPA; Maxwell-in-Washington under-grads Emily Sweda, Ejona Murataj, Colleen Downey, and Alyssa Palewicz; former U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and current Chinese ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai; faculty member Tina Nabatchi with student Ivan Zhivkov and guest John Quinlan; and students Sarah Davis (University of Denver partner program), Matt Briand, Anna Nicol, and Christopher Thompson. Opposite: Chancellor Kent Syverud, James Willie ’98 MPA, and his father, distinguished sociologist Charles Willie ’57 PhD (Soc).

And the event was a reunion of sorts for Maxwellians based in Washington, who mixed and shared their Maxwell stories both before and after the dinner, well into the evening.

They were joined by special guests from outside the immediate Maxwell community, who had come to celebrate the School’s important role in public affairs. Among those guests were former FBI and CIA director William Webster; former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft; the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai; and Brookings Institution president Strobe Talbott. Paul Volcker, former chair of the Federal Reserve, was to attend, but owing to personal circumstances sent his well wishes by video instead.

Another special guest on hand was veteran CBS broadcast journalist Bob Schieffer, who served as an honorary emcee. He commented that these are times when programs such as those offered by the Maxwell School are desperately important, citing in particular the cynicism seeded by big-money influence in politics. “Serious, smart young people,” he said, are needed in public service at a time when “confidence in all of our government institutions, which we once took for granted, has never been lower.”

“Time and again, serious people are either leaving public service,” he said, “or passing up the    opportunity to serve because they believe it is no longer worth the effort.” This tide must be reversed, he said.

“Thank you for what you are doing,” Schieffer concluded, addressing the assembled Maxwell representatives. “You are never more needed than you are now.”


This article appeared in the winter 2015 print edition of Maxwell Perspective; © 2015 Maxwell School of Syracuse University. To request a copy, e-mail