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Foreign Policy Analysis
2017 Graduation Celebration: Public Service and Administration

2017 Graduation Celebration: Public Service and Administration

(classical music) – Please have a seat. Howdy. – [Audience] Howdy. – For those of you I haven’t
had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Mark Welsh, and I am incredibly privileged to serve as the
Dean of the Bush School, and I’m also a huge fan of the graduates you see sitting in the front
of the room this morning. Thanks to each of you for joining us, it just wouldn’t be
right without you here. I’d like to welcome you
to Annenburg Presidential Conference Center, and to
the graduation celebration for students being
awarded a Master’s Degree in Public Service and Administration, by Dr. Gerald Mumphauer
in just a few minutes. This venue, and the people
who support us here today are a great example of the teamwork that exists here at the Bush Center, with the Bush Library and Museum, and the Bush Foundation,
and the Bush School all working together to try and create a unique environment for these incredible men and women to learn. On the stage with me this
morning is Dr. Frank Ashley, Senior Associate Dean
for Academic Affairs, who’s seated here. He’s also my frontal lobe. (audience laughing) Also on the stage is Dr. Gerald Mumphauer, the Head of our Public
Service Administration Department, and a close superhero. Kimberly Reeves and Stephanie
Bustos will also help us with the ceremony this morning. And by help I mean plan the entire thing, make all the arrangements,
do all the scheduling, prepare all the documentation
that’s required, make sure we’re all in the right place, and then coach us
through the entire event. So Kimberly and Stephanie, thank you for the work you’ve done. There’s Kimberly, where’s Stephanie? Where’d you go? Working. (audience laughing) As you see them this morning, please take the chance to thank them for their work and introduce your guests to them. 630 days, that’s how long you’ve been walking this trail with us. It’s a long time, isn’t it? This morning, you’ll walk
the last little piece, as you walk the stage
here at the Bush School, and then hopefully walk the stage at Texas A and M this afternoon. You’ll receive your academic diploma and you’ll formally graduate from this great, great university. You’ve got a lot happening
after this event, so I’ll skip the philosophy and just focus for a moment on the reality
of today, of right now. The fact is, there are
three different groups sitting in this auditorium today, and you need to know that each one has a very different focus. The first group are your
parents, your grandparents, your spouses, your
family, and your friends. Thank all of you for joining us. They’re sitting here with you today, but they’re thinking about yesterday. They’re thinking about
the day you were born, about bringing you home from the hospital, about your first steps, your first words, your first day of school. They’re thinking about
Little League baseball games, ballet recitals, piano
lessons, teaching you to cook. They’re remembering the
nerves of your first date, and helping you through
your first heartbreak. Your spouse is sitting here
remembering the day you met, and wonder how all of this
affects your future together. And all of them are struggling in some way to balance their pride
in what you’ve become with their apprehension of giving you up to the world they’ve tried
so hard to protect you from. All the things that make them love you have already happened, you
need to understand that. To them, the future’s important, your future’s really important, but the past is just so sweet. Make sure that you thank them today, thank them for your talent, your skills, your personality, thank
them for who you are. You learned honesty and integrity
around the kitchen table at home, not here at the Bush School. You learned courage, and how
to compete from your brothers, your sisters, and your
friends in the backyard. You watched your parents,
and then your spouse, and learned about service, commitment, dedication, loyalty, and respect. They gave you all the tools
you need to succeed in life, and you can never thank them enough. But this is a good day to try. And so I think you
should start by standing, and giving them the round of applause that you know they so richly deserve. (audience applauding) Thank you. The second group in the audience today is the faculty and the
staff of the Bush School, and they’re all focused on
today, and what it means. Because this ceremony is important to them as it is to you, believe it or not. For the last two years, they’ve
been alternatively teacher, coach, mentor, role model,
even friend at times. And what they’ve taught you can’t be captured in a test or on a transcript. They’ve given you the
professional skills you’ll need to succeed wherever you
go, and whatever you do, and they’ve showed you
that the world demands a standard of performance, and rewards men and women who are willing to meet it. They understand the significance of the diploma you’ll receive, and the work it required to earn it. When this ceremony is over,
they’ll congratulate you, they’ll quietly congratulate each other, and then they’ll turn their focus back to the class of 2018, and soon 2019. They’ll continue to teach, to coach, to mentor, to be role
models, and to inspire, because that’s what they
do, it’s who they are. They shape the professional platform on which you’ll build your future. They’re noble creatures, and I love them, and there’s no way to thank
them either, but you should try. I’ll help by asking all
our Bush School faculty and staff to please stand
so that our graduates, their family and friends, and I can show you our appreciation. (audience applauding) Thank you, folks. The third and the most important
group in the auditorium, of course, is you, the
graduates of the class of 2017. And you are very clearly
focused on tomorrow, and that’s as it should be. The friends who walk across the stage with you today have been a
huge factor in your success, and they’ll be a huge factor
in your success in the future. Together you’ve worked, you’ve played, you’ve laughed, you’ve
cried, you’ve celebrated. You’ve learned how to deal with success, and sometimes failure,
how to respect others, to listen, to seek, to understand, and to value different points of view. In some way, at some time,
they probably carried you. And none of that disappears when you get your diploma today, nor
will your friendships. Before you leave today, thank each other as well, and commit to staying connected. There’s one other thing I
think you should do today, one other commitment I
think you should make, and that’s a commitment to yourself that no matter what path
you choose in your life, you’ll run it at full speed. You know in your lifetime people are going to do incredible things in this world. They’re going to win
the Nobel Peace Prize, they’re going to find cures for most, if not all, kinds of cancers. They’re going to create policy that will change the lives
of citizens around the world. They’ll build hypersonic
engines, and fly space planes. They’ll develop educational programs that will reach all
children, in all countries. They’ll be university
chancellors, bank presidents, corporate CEOs, city
managers, mayors, governors, members of Congress, chairmen
of the joint chiefs of staff. They’ll be President of the United States. By the way, you’re those people. You’ll do all those
things, if you want to, because you certainly have the capability. And that’s why the rest of
us are so excited today. Our world is about to get better, because you’re going to go make it better. The challenges we couldn’t
overcome, you will. The people we couldn’t accept, you will. The technology we
couldn’t master, you will. And the peace we couldn’t find, you must. Don’t be afraid to be really
good at whatever you do. This world needs your
talent, it needs your energy, your IQ, your ideas, your
smile in the morning. It needs your A game, so bring it. You’ve already made those of
us here who love you proud, but now it’s time for
the much tougher task of living up to your own expectations. You’ve worked hard, and
you’ve earned this day. Tomorrow, the adventure begins. Make yourself proud. I’d now like to introduce
Dr. Gerald Mumphauer, and ask him to come to the
podium for the recognition of our graduating degree students. (audience applauding) – Howdy. – [Audience] Howdy. – The Master’s of Public Service
and Administration Program, or MPSA, as we call it,
develops principled leaders for the public and non-profit sectors. It provides students with the tools and knowledge they need in
order to perform effectively and ethically in a time
when public servants face new and increased challenges. The MPSA program is full
accredited by NSPPAA, that’s the Network of Schools of Public Policy Affairs and Administration. And the curriculum provides students with general knowledge and
analytical skills in management, leadership, policy analysis,
and research methods. The candidates for the degree of Master of Public Service and Administration have completed a rigorous,
48 credit hour curriculum, specializing in either public management, non-profit management, or
public policy analysis. Additionally, they have
concentrated their study in the fields of analytical methods, education policy and management, energy, environment and technology
policy and management, health policy and
management, international non-governmental
organizations, security policy and management, state and local government policy and management, or some other vital field of public
policy or management. Each candidate who came to the program without prior professional experience has completed a summer long internship with a government agency
or non-profit organization. Every candidate has participated in a year long capstone project, in which students work
together in teams to address an important policy or management issue for a government agency or
non-profit organization client. It wasn’t easy. Now you have a little
better idea of how much work was required to get
through the MPSA program. Let’s move to the centerpiece
of our celebration. Dean Welsh, Dean Ashley,
faculty, and guests, I have the honor of presenting
the following students who are candidates for
graduating with a degree of Master of Public
Service and Administration. (audience applauding) – [Announcer] Morgan Elizabeth Anderson. (audience applauding) Sayid Mohammed Assam. (audience applauding) Sanzar Bejornof. (audience applauding) Bashir Amahd Basim. (audience applauding) James Robert Beard. (audience applauding) Derek Michael Carter. (audience applauding) Joshua T. Causey. (audience applauding) – [Woman] I love you baby, I’m proud! (audience laughing) – [Announcer] Crystal Ann Checkitz. (audience applauding) Christian Halliday Coleman. (audience applauding) Stephanie Daniela Cornejo. (audience applauding) Shannon Christine Coyle. (audience applauding) Candace Alexa Davis. (audience applauding) Amanda Cartwright Dick. (audience applauding) Allison Christine Dodd. (audience applauding) David Wayne Fujimoto. (audience applauding) Nicole Monique Gabler. (audience applauding) Anne Maria Garcia. (audience applauding) Marlisa Eunicia Griffin. (audience applauding) Jean Gwoh. (audience applauding) Christina Marie Harrison. (audience applauding) Samantha Peyton Haines. (audience applauding) Erin Eloise Henderson. (audience applauding) James Morgan Hicks. (audience applauding) William Robert Holloman. (audience applauding) Joseph Earl Hood. (audience applauding) Kylie Sabrina Jackson. (audience applauding) Valeria Lynn Horgie. (audience applauding) Angela Joyce Keene. (audience applauding) Jennifer Marie King. (audience applauding) Deanai Layal. (audience applauding) Andrew Gregory MacGee. (audience applauding) Fahad Mansour. (audience applauding) Maria Christina Martinez. (audience applauding) Paul Allen McDonald. (audience applauding) Garrett Carlton McLeod. (audience applauding) Brett Matthew Mederos. (audience applauding) Julie Anna Morris. (audience applauding) Wang Pan. (audience applauding) Adriana Perez Palacios. (audience applauding) Joellen Patricia Reese. (audience applauding) Victoria Caroline Reevis. (audience applauding) Kendall Lee Rowden. (audience applauding) Mark Andrew Ruth. (audience applauding) Enrique Jose Sanchez. (audience applauding) Stephanie G. Richards. (audience applauding) Sarairu Shankar. (audience applauding) Theodore Bradley Shull. (audience applauding) Iowan Su. (audience applauding) Sidney L. Thomas. (audience applauding) Daniel Tihani. (audience applauding) Nanag Garendra Timur. (audience applauding) Maria Jose Vaca. (audience applauding) Hillary Megan Vokel. (audience applauding) Na Wei. (audience applauding) Ropi Wu. (audience applauding) Gia Ye. (audience applauding) Grady Daniel Young. (audience applauding) Usama Zafar. (audience applauding) – Dean Welsh, Dean
Ashley, faculty, guests, please join me in thanking, once again, those students who have completed
the requirements for the degree of Master of Public
Service and Administration. (audience applauding) – Thank you Dr. Mumphauer,
and congratulations to each and every one of you. Ladies and gentlemen, at
each graduation celebration, we take a moment to recognize
excellence in our school, and today we have three awards to present. I invite Sidney Thomas, Nicole Gabler, and Maria Florencia Tinareo to head up this way as our presenters. Sidney and Nicole will
present the Silver Star Award for Teaching Excellence,
and will also present a Silver Star Award
honoring a staff member. And Maria Florencia
will present the Public Service Organization’s Award
for Excellence in Service. – I accidentally brought
this up, can’t let it go. So the Silver Star Award is given to an outstanding faculty
member who demonstrates dedication to his or her students, both in and outside of the classroom. This is the type of professor
who challenges their students, guides their growth, and
inspires their service. This MPSA professor educates and leads by instilling in us core
values, to adhere to the facts and not opinions, to challenge
one another intellectually, but with mutual respect, and that a life of service must include
compassion and empathy for all, not just those with whom you agree. This professor is an outstanding educator, but is also a dear friend to his students. You’ve shown us what true, unwavering support looks and feels like. You’ve forged bonds of friendship and common purpose between
students of varied backgrounds, and different races,
religions, and nationalities. To quote the late, great Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people
will forget what you said. “People will forget what you did. “But people will never forget
how you made them feel.” Not to say I won’t carry on the lessons from your quantitative methods class. So on behalf of the MPSA class of 2017, I am honored to present
the Silver Star Award to my boss, my professor, my role model, and my friend, Dr. Justin Bullock. (audience applauding) – Howdy. – [Audience] Howdy. – The Silver Star Award is
given to an outstanding staff member who demonstrates dedication to the students of the Bush School. This is the type of
staff member who inspires and helps students
discover their life paths. The MPSA class of 2017 is proud to award the Silver Star Award
to Ms. Kimberly Reeves. It is staggering to see how the efforts of one person, one particular person, can truly make a difference in the lives of Bush School students. Ms. Reeves is a constant
rock and guiding light for any and all issues students have. She is a calming presence when the whirlwind of grad school takes hold. She projects a warm, cheerful
attitude to all students. I have seen her resolve conflicts
and handle other difficult situations with remarkable
patience, and admirable tact. She goes out of her way to help students in need, all students in need. She loves people, works
hard, and always tries to lift the spirits of those around here. I believe those
characteristics represent all that is good in our
school, and I am pleased to present her with the Silver Star Award. (audience applauding) – Congratulations, class
of 2017, we made it! Barely, but we’re here! On behalf of the Bush School
and the Public Service Organization, it’s my absolute
honor to be presenting this year’s Public Service Award. All of you have served the
school and the community in amazing ways, however since day one, there’s been a person
who has blown us all away with her endless passion,
commitment, and kindness. She’s serving PSO, she’s
serving Ambassador, and she was Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She’s a friend, she’s a dreamer, she’s an amazing human
being who has inspired us all every day, teaching
us not to give up, always be better, and
always but always to serve. She’s one of my dearest
friends, she’s an inspiration, and she is one of those people you know that she will change the world, and she will change people’s live. Please welcome with me, and join with me to welcome Deanna to 2017
Public Service Award Recipient. (audience applauding) – I’d now like to invite the class speaker to come to the stage. Please help me welcome Mr. Will Holloman. (audience applauding) – Well howdy. – [Audience] Howdy. – And good morning. I know some of my classmates
probably haven’t seen this part of the morning their whole
two years in graduation. And for those of you that
have already started your job, you can attest to this, it’s the rest of your life, welcome to it. I’m so honored to be here today. Again, my name is Will Holloman, and I’m here to speak
about 45 minutes on. 10? (audience laughing) So I guess a condensed speech is in order. Today, I want to talk to you about a term that I think represents and
impacts everyone in this room, including all of the parents,
relatives, significant others, professors, Bush School staff, and anyone that just happens to walk
by and hear snippets. I want to talk to you about
infectious public service. I can just see Professor
Krudos somewhere jumping up and down for joy about diseases, but this is not that type of
infectious disease, sorry. This is something that you
can’t find in a textbook, and I really do think it will be someday. The term infectious leadership
comes from a specific conversation Professor Jim Olsen had with a group of students,
including myself, a few months back that’s
really stuck with me. And it pops into my mind almost daily. Don’t worry, Ms. Razer,
I didn’t see you here, but I did quote Professor
Jim Olsen in the footnotes, MLA style, so this should be good to go. Professor Olsen looked at
all the students that day, very much like I’m looking
at all of you right now. And he told us, “You are
infected with public service.” Very simple concept. He explained, “We have been forever bitten “by the public service
bug, and try as we might, “we will never be able to get rid of it. “We are all now infected. “We are all now changed.” Ever since that conversation,
I’ve come back to the idea, trying to conceptualize what that looks like at the Bush School,
and around the world. And like any good researcher
and cliche graduation speech giver, I consulted
Merriam Webster’s dictionary. It’s original. For those of you playing graduation bingo, that’s D1, go ahead and mark that off. And I chose the third
definition of infected, because the first two were too icky. And the third one says, “Being infected “is the state produced
by the establishment “of an infective agent in
or on a suitable agent.” All of us here, at some point, have become the host of he public service infection. Whether you come to it
willingly or subconsciously, before or during our
time at the Bush School, or contracting it from
our peers and mentors, it doesn’t matter, we’re all infected. And unlike bacterial
infections that are temporary and treated with antibiotics,
the public serve infection is more like a virus, something
that gets into your DNA, changing your genetic makeup forever. Think chicken pox, but
less scratchy and itchy. Now infections have gotten
a bad rap in our culture, and I rightfully understand that, but I think this is an infection that the world could use
at the moment, untreated. And maybe, it would be more helpful if I gave you all the symptoms and side effects of
public service infection. Side effects may include:
an innate and incurable desire to have a positive
impact on your community. A willingness to, as Ambassador
Crocker once told us, go to hard places and do hard things. Sleepless nights thinking
over a policy issue, knowing that your decisions could impact thousands, if
not millions, of people. Endless tears of passion
from dedication to your work. And a warm heart when you know you’ve changed someone’s life for the better. With symptoms like this,
I fully believe this is an infection that we should spread. But like Professor Olsen pointed out, we really don’t have a
choice in the matter. You’re infected, you’re forever changed. Try as you might with private sector jobs, looking at you transfer
prizers out in the room, you’ll be back, you’re
infected, forever changed. Not many of you know this,
but my dad passed away two weeks before started our first year at the Bush School, a
week before orientation. He died after battling
skin cancer for two years that spread and affected his lungs. While that disease is
horrible, and it’s an infection that does warrant the
name nasty infection, he had another infection
that forever changed me. He was infected with
the public service bug. My dad taught high school for almost 30 years in Clayborne, Texas. My mom out there, also almost 30 years. And my sister, who surprised me today, has been teaching for nine years. We have people in our lives that infect us with public service throughout. My dad was a government
and economics teacher to hundreds of kids over the years. I know Dr. Taylor, I
don’t know how I didn’t get the economics bug
in that too, I tried. He was so proud that I had been accepted into the Bush School,
proud that I had gotten the public service genes from him, my mom, my sister, and everyone
else in our family. Which reminds me, the public
service gene, it’s hereditary. It’s passed down to you, you
pass it on to other people, and it’s a good thing to spread around. A few weeks before my dad passed, he looked over the
first semester schedule, cringing at the sight of economic theory and quantitative methods. He told me I had a long road ahead of me, but that I had an opportunity
that few will ever receive to truly make an impact in this world. My dad wasn’t defined by cancer, he was defined by that
infectious public service gene. He was proud me, and I know he would be proud of all of you today. Maybe one of you will be part of the team that helps cure cancer. Maybe one of you will help change the education system for the better. Either way, I know he would be very proud. So for Daddy Rob, and my
mom, my sister, my wife, for everyone here that has helped infect you at some point with
the public service bug, go out into the big scary world. Stay up late thinking
about how your decisions can affect and help other people. Do the hard jobs in hard places. And let the good will of this
passion spread into the world. Don’t stop it, don’t fight it,
you’re forever changed now. You’re infected. Thank you, God bless, and get going. (audience applauding) – Will, your mom and I, and everybody else in this room know your
dad’s here with you. He is proud of you. That was fantastic, thank you. Godspeed. (audience applauding) I think the rest of you has seen just a very small example now of why we’re so excited about and
proud of this entire class. To the graduates, all of you need to know that all of us here at the Bush School are immensely proud to be associated with, and we’ve been privileged to join you here this morning, along with your guests. As you leave, please remember that there’s no other group in America like
you, this graduation week, because you are the
41st President’s legacy. You’re it. He once said that, “In 100
years, I’d like to look back “and have historians say that from “that school came
generation after generation “of people who were committed to “public service for the right reasons. “They believed that
public service is noble, “and they believed that they
could make a difference.” You know that President
Bush is proud of you, and I know that you will make that aspiration reality for him. Please never forget that
you now carry his legacy. It’s important to all of us here. Wear it proudly, because it’s certainly worthy of your respect. Congratulations and best
wishes to each of you. Go forth, and live great lives. Love your family, honor your friends, respect others, serve selflessly,
do great, great things. And make your world a better place. And stay in touch, because
we want to hear all about it. I’d ask now that our faculty and our staff and our guests rise and
join me in one final round of applause for the
remarkable 2017 graduates of the Bush School of
Government and Public Service. (audience applauding) Thank you, folks. I’d ask that you please remain in place until
our graduates depart, and then join all of us for a reception in the banquet space out the back doors, immediately following the ceremony. Thank you for being here. (classical music)

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