Humphrey School News—May 19, 2020

Message to Humphrey School Graduates: We Need You to Change the World

In virtual commencement ceremonies, grads were challenged to address issues highlighted by global pandemic

zoom-screenshot.jpg

A screen grab of the Humphrey Schools online commencement, showing six people holding congratulations messages
The Humphrey School celebrated commencement for its 186 graduates in a series of online ceremonies on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

It wasn’t the ceremony they were expecting, nor the one they deserved. But nevertheless, 186 students from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs celebrated the completion of their master’s and doctoral degrees in a virtual commencement on Saturday. 

The School hosted live video-streamed commencement ceremonies for each of the School’s six master’s degree programs, complete with deans and faculty wearing their academic regalia, community leaders delivering keynote speeches, and graduates hearing their names read as they were recognized one by one. 

Nearly 700 students, family, friends, and faculty tuned in for the ceremonies, which replaced the traditional in-person commencement that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the University of Minnesota suspended in-person instruction in mid-March, graduating students had to adapt rapidly to online classes, group projects, and research to complete their degree requirements.  

Head shot of Dean Laura Bloomberg speaking via video during 2020 online commencement ceremony“These last few months have been a crash course in the greatest attributes that we can see in our leaders—empathy and authentic concern for others,” said Dean Laura Bloomberg (pictured at left) to the graduates. “As you embark on your careers, I believe you will bring a deep reserve of empathy and concern because of—not in spite of—the fact that you persevered, you navigated, and you graduated in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic.”

The graduates heard from a succession of Minnesota political dignitaries including Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota’s two U.S. senators, and the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, all providing similar words of encouragement.

They also exhorted the graduates to use their knowledge and passion for public service to address the global challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Head shot of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking via video to 2020 Humphrey School graduates “We can get through what we're in now, if we stick together as a team, and you'll be role models. What you do will matter,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (pictured at left) in her keynote address.“You're the ones who graduated in the middle of this pandemic. Your education has prepared you for this. It's taught you to reach out to people from another side of town or across racial lines, across religious lines, and even across, I hope, political lines.” 

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter (MPP ’11), a Humphrey School alumnus, told the graduates that society needs them to use the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired to make the world a better place. 

“[The pandemic] is by far the toughest leadership challenge I have ever faced. It has required all of us to adapt and be flexible to work together, and to build and quickly implement approaches that wouldn’t even have come to mind just three months ago,” said Carter. “Just as I have found, you, too, will find that you can rely on the training you received at the Humphrey School and the people around you to rise to meet any challenge.”

The winners of the School’s 2020 student academic and leadership awards were also announced at commencement. See the list below. 

Dean Bloomberg quoted the School’s namesake, former senator and vice president Hubert Humphrey, for her final charge to the class of 2020. “'If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, let there be hard work, let there be hard thought.'”

“I hope you will take that inspiration from Hubert Humphrey with you into your future careers,” Bloomberg said. “Stay restless, stay dissatisfied. Bring your ideas and bring your good thoughts to the world around us.” 

2019 Student Academic and Leadership Awards

(All honorees are in the class of 2020 unless otherwise noted)

AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PLANNERS AWARD
Recognizes an outstanding planning student 
Galen Ryan, Master of Urban and Regional Planning  

RICHARD S. BOLAN URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING FELLOWSHIP
Encourages and supports student in timely completion of MURP program 
• Meredith Benesh, Master of Urban and Regional Planning '21

EDWARD A. BURDICK LEGISLATIVE AWARD
For exemplifying bipartisanship in public policy, honoring former Minnesota Rep. Burdick
• Sara Parke, Master of Public Policy

GARY M. DECRAMER PUBLIC LEADERSHIP AWARD
In memory of Gary DeCramer, former MPA program director. Awarded for exemplary leadership
• Alana Petersen, Master of Public Affairs (mid-career) '21

DIVERSITY PAPER AWARD
For paper on policy issues affecting diverse populations in the United States or globally
Capstone team:

  • Katie Burke, Master of Human Rights
  • Tonje Boerresen, Master of Human Rights
  • Christina Licari, Master of Development Practice
  • Hannah Shireman, Master of Human Rights

FREEMAN STASSEN AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
Demonstrated achievement in the field of global affairs
Capstone team:

  • Sarah Allis, Master of Human Rights
  • Joy Hammer, Master of Human Rights
  • Stephanie Hallgren, Master of Public Policy

JERNBERG AWARD FOR STUDENT LIFE

For contributions to the improvement of student life by student, faculty, or staff, honoring Professor Emeritus James Jernberg
• Planning Student Organization

LUKERMANN AWARD
For exceptional service by a planning student, in memory of Barbara Lukermann, senior fellow emerita
• Shannon Engstrom, Master of Urban and Regional Planning

MASTER OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS PAPER AWARD 
Best paper, including for awareness of personal leadership growth and capacity

  • Nicole Chamberlin, Master of Public Affairs (mid-career) '21
  • Aaron Williamson, Master of Public Affairs (mid-career) '21

LLOYD B. SHORT AWARD FOR BEST MASTER’S PAPER
Best individual master’s paper or group capstone project, honoring late Professor Lloyd Short
Capstone team:

  • Shannon Engstrom, Master of Urban and Regional Planning 
  • Lauren Fisher, Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy '21
  • Anindya Panda, Master of Public Policy
  • Megan Reineccius, Master of Urban and Regional Planning

STEP IMPACT AWARD  
For significant scientific impact, impact in the community, impact on policy, or impact within the degree program
• Maggie Rogers, Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

STEP PAPER AWARD 
Outstanding STEP masters professional paper, thesis, or capstone project completed by an MS−STEP student or other Humphrey School student with a STEP minor
• Jane O'Malley, Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

STUDENT LEADERSHIP AWARD 
Demonstrating significant leadership at the Humphrey School (peer selected)
• Katie Burke, Master of Human Rights 

CLASS OF 1999 PAUL AND SHEILA WELLSTONE AWARD FOR PUBLIC ACTION AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
Embodying the spirit, passion, and dedication of the late U.S. senator and his wife

  • Sasha Hulsey, Master of Public Policy 
  • Kshitiz Karki, Master of Public Policy
  • Olivia Reyes, Master of Public Policy
  • Alyssa Scott, Master of Public Policy

Instructional Awards

CORE COURSE INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR 
• Carrie Oelberger, assistant professor, leadership and management area

INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR
• Geoffrey Maas, affiliate faculty, urban and regional planning area 

TEACHING ASSISTANT OF THE YEAR
• Tyler Boesch, Master of Public Policy

Office of Communications

Humphrey School of Public Affairs
300G Humphrey School
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

612-625-9436