On April 20, Cumberland University welcomed over 100 alumni back to campus to celebrate the legacy and success of the Master of Science in Public Service Management (MSP) program. At the end of the evening, a new speaker series was announced in honor of one of the program’s cherished professors.
The MSP program is designed for a variety of public service, law enforcement and nonprofit social service agency professionals. This program focuses on three distinct components of public service management: human relations, management and research emphasizing the understanding of cultural diversity as it relates to today’s public sector.
The MSP program founder, University Provost, and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Bill McKee instituted the graduate degree in 1996 with the first graduates receiving their degrees in May of 1998. Since its inception, the program has served more than 700 students with 21 cohorts represented at the event including the program’s first ever applicant and admitted student.
Throughout the evening, alumni heard from a number of guest speakers as they honored the program’s 26-year legacy and the impact of Dr. Bill McKee and Dr. Fred Heifner, Professor of Anthropology, Philosophy, and Religion, Virginia and Guy Thackston Professor of Liberal Arts, and MSP Professor since the program’s inaugural year.
2012 MSP Graduate, La Quita Martin and her husband Dr. Richard Orland surprised Dr. Heifner with a $50,000 donation to the university in his honor to establish the Heifner-Martin Lecture Series.
“Cumberland University has touched the lives of so many people in our community, and for that, we are forever grateful,” said Martin. “The direct impact Cumberland has on the lives of its students is truly remarkable and as the student body continues to grow, our most paramount endeavor is to bring to these scholars the greatest student experience available including complex conversations with civil discourse, empathy, and respect.”
The Heifner-Martin series is an endowed lecture series created to foster exemplary civil discourse with fearless and rigorous inquiry into philosophies of mind, intellectual diversity, and the free and open exchange of ideas. The Heifner-Martin Lectures will provide students with the opportunity to interact with speakers, experts and authorities in various fields beyond their classroom experience.
“The impact of the MSP program is one that holds a special place in the hearts of many. It truly is an exciting time to be a part of the Cumberland Family, and our alumni are eager to be involved in honoring the traditions and celebrating the ongoing transformations happening on campus among our students, faculty and staff,” said Alumni Relations Coordinator, Caroline Haynes. “The generosity of our alumni base never ceases to amaze me. This one event raised $23,159 and a portion of the proceeds will go to both Dr. McKee’s and Dr. Heifner’s individual scholarships as well as supporting the continued success of the MSP program.”
Click here to learn more about the MSP program.