Dear Students, Parents, Alumni, Friends, and Visitors,

The academic year is only a few months old, but already, potential applicants for fall 2020 admission are visiting Baldwin and Candler Hall. More than one visitor has asked me, “What kind of impact can I have with a SPIA degree?” It’s a smart question. Alumni biographies can help answer it.

Consider: The top official in charge of public health and environmental quality for nearly 60 million people earned a SPIA MPA. She’s Mary Walker, EPA’s Regional Administrator for eight southeastern states and six federally-recognized tribes.

Daily impact might describe the work of David Dove and Tim Fleming. They are, respectively, Executive Counsel and Chief of Staff to Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia. Both are graduates of UGA with an AB in Political Science.

Or consider Kathleen Wilson, International Affairs/Economics AB, who earned a Truman Scholarship at UGA, worked for a specialized UN organization focusing on Palestinian refugees in the Near East, and now is a program associate at Creative Associates International focusing on education in conflict-prone areas in the developing world. Her impact is global in scale.

Carol Bell, MPA, has had a 40-year career of public service in Savannah, Georgia and is currently an alderman for that city.

Mary, David, Tim, Kathleen, and Carol are leaders – to be sure. But more precisely, they are impactful public servants – involved directly in decisions that affect peoples’ lives, every day.

A SPIA degree is preparation for a life of meaning and impact. The faculty and staff in our departments of international affairs, political science, and public administration and policy are committed to that work, and we are proud to see the ranks of undergraduate and graduate students increasing every year – approximately 1,960 at last count. That’s welcome news for the citizens of the state, the nation, and the world.


Matthew R. Auer
School of Public and International Affairs