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MPA Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Inside of CLPS building with students in entrance way

The University of La Verne is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Master of Public Administration (MPA) program within the College of Law and Public Service this year. The program has become a beacon of excellence in public administration education across Southern California and beyond.  

Over the years, the MPA program has produced skilled professionals who have made significant contributions to the public sector. These efforts are recognized yearly through the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Best Public Affairs Programs rankings. In addition, the university has been proudly accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).  

“The public administration program allows us to be a part of a broader national perspective on governance and networking across communities,” Associate Dean of the College of Law and Public Service Suzanne Beaumaster said. “It’s been very important to us and our students, as the program lends quality and functionality to the needs of the area.”  

Local government management is one of the most popular career fields students have found employment in both during and after graduation. These include positions in city and county governments, as well as within special districts. According to reports from the most recent graduating class, approximately 69 percent of students work in public sector positions across local, state, and federal agencies, 26 percent of students are working in the nonprofit sector, and five percent are working in the private sector. Other popular career fields for students have been in nonprofit management and public policy.  

Longtime Public Administration Professor Adrian Velasquez Vasquez enjoys seeing the impact this program has on his students.  

“The MPA program has been a staple of the university for a long time, educating public service professionals and providing the tools they need to carry into the workplace,” Velasquez Vasquez said. “Helping our students find their voice and showing them that they belong here both in the classroom and in this profession is what inspires me most.”  

Professor of Public Administration Marcia Godwin reflected on the program’s journey since she began teaching at the university in 2003. Since her tenure, she has seen the MPA program curriculum grow to include more types of students, with greater diversity in concentrations for more professions, including nonprofit management, public health, and urban management affairs, as well as the Juris Doctor (JD) and MPA dual degree program.  

“This program stands out by helping students broaden their definition of public service,” Godwin said. “Once we dive into what it means to be in public service, students start to foster dynamic classroom discussions together, which is really rewarding.”  

As part of the MPA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the university is honoring Professor Emeriti Jack W. Meek with a Jack W. Meek Governance Series luncheon, held in collaboration with the Southern California chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the university are welcome to visit Meek during his discussion titled “Hybrid Governance Arrangements” and will take place on Saturday, February 3, from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Collaborative Space at the College of Law and Public Service.  

This luncheon offers an opportunity for networking and discussion on key topics in public administration. Attendees will gain valuable insights from our speaker and network with our students, faculty and staff.  

The University of La Verne’s MPA program stands as a testament to five decades of excellence in public administration education that continues to expand its impact to the public.  

Please RSVP for the luncheon by emailing Sarah Prosenko at