The School of Public Policy celebrated UMBC’s 50th anniversary with an alumni roundtable on Friday, September 16, 2016. The roundtable, titled “We Can Work It Out: Reflections on How Public Policy Impacts our Lives,” brought together five distinguished alumni to discuss how the implementation of public policies impacts the quality of life for people in the U.S. The topics drew on the academic and professional backgrounds of the speakers, who each provided a short, engaging presentation, and then opened the discussion to an audience of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of the School. Donald F. Norris, director of the School of Public Policy, said: “this panel certainly showcased the considerable talent and wide range of interests among our alumni.”
The public management and urban sectors were represented by UMBC’s first public policy PhD graduate Renny DiPentima ’84, who was president and CEO of SRA International, and deputy director and CIO of the Social Security Administration; Robert Cenname (MPP, ’08), Baltimore City Deputy Budget Director; and Laura Bruner (MPP, ’14 and current PhD student), a policy analyst with the Maryland Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement. Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams (PhD, ’06), the U.S. Deputy Surgeon General; and Keith Elder (PhD, ’02), Dean of the School of Public Health at Samford University, shared thoughts on the health policy sector. While the speakers’ fields of expertise are diverse, some common themes emerged during the discussion, including the need to involve the community when introducing change, and the importance of transparency. The panelists all agreed that because nothing ever goes as planned, policymakers must not only be knowledgeable, but also flexible in planning and implementing new programs and policies.
The roundtable highlighted the achievements of the over 550 Public Policy alumni, and the strengths of our graduate program. This was one of the first events of UMBC’s 50th anniversary weekend, which included a talk on the history of UMBC by Public Policy Professor Emeritus George La Noue, the House of Grit Community Festival and fireworks, and the September 19 Founders Day State of the University Address.
Happy 50th Anniversary, UMBC!