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Rutgers SPAA Celebrates Class of 2020

#RutgersSPAA #RUNGrads2020

Rutgers SPAA is proud to honor and recognize all of our 2020 graduates!

On May 20, more than 250 School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) graduates were honored and recognized during Rutgers University–Newark’s Virtual Graduate Recognition Ceremony. The celebration featured messages from RU-N Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and commencement speaker Angie Martinez, who spoke about the power and magic of the Rutgers-Newark community having the resolve, determination, and innovation to overcome the pandemic. 

Graduation 2020 Media:

Prior to the recognition ceremony, SPAA honored its graduates at a virtual Pi Alpha Alpha celebration on May 13. A total of 49 students were inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for public administration, and Dr. Lois Warner, assistant teaching professor, was inducted as an honorary Pi Alpha Alpha member.

Dean Charles Menifield congratulated the graduates and reminded the life-long members of the SPAA family to always remember the values they learned.

“To the Class of 2020: As you depart from Rutgers University–Newark and the School of Public Affairs and Administration, always remember what you have learned as you embark and grow in your new endeavors,” said Menifield. “As a school dedicated to public service we are confident that you will live up to the values of competence, diversity, knowledge, service, and ethics throughout your career. We wish you the very best as you begin the next journey.”

Also at the virtual Pi Alpha Alpha celebration, the winners of the 2020 SPAA Awards were announced:

  • Outstanding BA Student: Anna Agbotse (BA'20)
  • Outstanding MPA Student: Nancy Pietrobon (MPA’20)
  • Outstanding PhD Student: Dr. Danbee Lee (PhD’20)
  • E. Drexel Godfrey Award: Salvador Bigay (MPA'20)
  • Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic Excellence: Dr. Jonathan Justice (PhD'03), University of Delaware
  • Distinguished Alumni Award for Practitioner Excellence: Tracy Zur (MPA'18), Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders
  • Community Service Award: Carlos Valentin, Jr. (BA'13), Aspira Inc., of New Jersey
  • SPAA Faculty Teaching Award: Dr. James Davy, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence
  • SPAA Faculty Service Award: Dr. Yahong Zhang, Associate Professor
  • Gail Daniels SPAA Staff Award: Danese Spence, Administrative Coordinator, Finance and Administration

SPAA Grads 2020

As part of our celebration of our 2020 graduating students, we are pleased to share some of their personal stories.