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From the Alumni Director: Recognizing Excellence

June 15, 2022

Jessica Walcott Murray

Jessica Walcott Murray

Dear alumni and friends, 

Maxwell recently convened our inaugural Awards of Excellence in Washington, D.C. We were excited to come together as a community to celebrate public service in all of its forms and honor our 2022 awardees. Guests included our alumni and students who, in their professional and volunteer roles, live out their commitment to public service.  

Among the individuals attending the Maxwell Advisory Board’s semi-annual meeting earlier in the day was Susan Willie ’98 M.P.A. Along with her husband, James Willie '98 M.P.A., she attended the Awards of Excellence to accept the Maxwell Advocate Award on behalf of her father-in-law, the late Charles V. Willie ’57 Ph.D. (Soc)/’92 Hon.  

Susan is an exemplary public servant. For much of her career, she has worked for the Congressional Budget Office, where in her current role as a unit chief in the Budget Analysis Division, she and her team provide nonpartisan analysis for Congress in a number of areas, including natural resources, transportation and agriculture. Her expertise and perspective are important to our advisory board, which is comprised of alumni from an array of professions. Members have a pivotal role in guiding decisions that directly impact Maxwell’s community of students, faculty, staff and alumni.  

Susan and James Willie

Susan Willie ’98 M.P.A. and her husband, James Willie '98 M.P.A., at the Awards of Excellence in April 2022. In addition to devoting her time to the board, Susan is a frequent volunteer guest lecturer in public budgeting for Maxwell’s online executive master of public administration program.

She has shared her expertise on the federal budget every term the course has been offered—14 times—to students around the world. Course instructor Brian Ohl, a faculty member in the online program, says Susan “is very generous with her time and her knowledge, supporting and inspiring our students and going the extra mile to modify her presentations based on current events and budget issues.”  

Susan’s service exemplifies the ideals of her late father-in-law, which brings me back to the Awards of Excellence. Included in the printed event program was a quote from Charles Willie that illustrates this ability for each of us to have an impact: “It is an ancient custom, as ancient as the Roman Empire, to idolize those whom we honor, to make them larger than life, to give their marvelous accomplishments a magical and mystical origin. …By idolizing those whom we honor, we fail to realize that we could go and do likewise.”  

Here’s how you can engage with the Maxwell School:  

  • Connect with Maxwell students through classroom visits, career talks, our Alumni Ambassador program and more. Contact the alumni office by email at or visit us online to learn more about these opportunities.  
  • Think of Maxwell when looking to fill roles at your organization. Reach out to the Palmer Career Center at for information about how to share internship and employment opportunities with students and alumni.  
  • Complete Maxwell’s Alumni Update Form to pass along your career news, so we can celebrate your achievement, share with the alumni network and update our alumni records.  

We invite you to stay connected with us through events, campus connections and more—and watch for future Awards of Excellence communications this fall!  

Stay well,  

signature for Jessica Murray

Jessica Murray

Director of Alumni Relations  




Published in the Summer 2022 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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