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From the Alumni Director: A Golden Reunion

June 27, 2024

Maxwell 1974 MPA Alumni
Members of the M.P.A. class of 1974 who attended the reunion in April included, from left to right (front) George Schaefer, Shaheen Rehman and Richard Hickman and (back) Jill Weitzen MacDonald, Claude Seguin, Barbara Brown Markell, Wayne Kost and George Wolohojian.

Earlier this spring, it was my honor to help welcome members of the master of public administration (M.P.A.) class of 1974 back to campus for their 50th reunion. Their visit coincided with the gathering of Syracuse University’s 50th and 60th reunion classes. It also gave them a chance to celebrate a Maxwell School milestone you read about earlier in the edition: our 100th anniversary.

This unique group of alumni joined us from more than a dozen states and provinces—one traveling over 2,700 miles. A true microcosm of our alumni community, they pursued myriad career paths, working in local, state and federal government agencies; for nonprofit and non-governmental organizations; and in private enterprises. Among them were a retired deputy staff director for the Commonwealth of Virginia and a former resource management chief for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Maxwell School was quite different back when they were students. Programming was largely based in Maxwell Hall. Those who joined us for the reunion marveled at the transformation—for some, it was the first time seeing the addition of Melvin A. Eggers Hall, which added 84,000 square feet in 1994. It is always fun to look at Maxwell from the lens of a former student who hasn’t visited in some time—it brings a renewed sense of pride in the work we do.

Festivities for the class of 1974 included a welcome reception and a program featuring current public administration and international affairs faculty and M.P.A. students. Associate Dean and Public Administration and International Affairs Chair Colleen Heflin moderated a series of faculty flash talks with Jay Golden, Johannes Himmelreich and Michiko Ueda-Ballmer. The group also engaged with current M.P.A. students and joined members of Syracuse University’s classes of 1964 and 1974 for additional reunion weekend activities.

Maxwell MPA Alumni
Alumni Michael Lewan (left) and Richard Hickman compare notes during the recent 50-year reunion for their M.P.A. class of 1974.

Some attendees reconnected with campus in other significant ways. George Wolohojian, who served as the first graduate student representative to the Board of Trustees while a student at Maxwell, met his present-day counterpart and current student representative.

The M.P.A. class of 1974 is a close-knit group who’ve stayed engaged with the Maxwell School and one another since graduation. They were actively involved in helping to coordinate their visit and shared in our excitement about its timing in our centennial year. Assistant Dean for Advancement Liz Armstrong ’13 M.P.A. and I are already missing our regular check-ins with the group’s reunion ambassadors who, in addition to George, included Michael Lewan, Roberta Miller and George Schaefer.

I hope to see some of these alumni return this fall for another special event for all alumni and friends of the Maxwell School: Mark your calendar for our centennial celebration on Friday, Oct. 18.

signature for Jessica Murray

Jessica Murray

Director of Alumni Relations

Editor’s note: As this publication went to press, we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of George Schaefer ’74 M.P.A. As classmate Michael Lewan told us, “George loved Maxwell and left his ‘city’ a better place.” Our thoughts are with his loved ones.

Published in the Spring 2024 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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