School of Public Affairs: December 2010
UCCS School of Public Affairs

Alumni Connections:
School of Public Affairs
December 2010

Terry SchwartzHappy New Year from the School of Public Affairs. As you know, the past several months have brought numerous exciting changes to the School of Public Affairs:

  • We launched a new website with program descriptions, faculty profiles, and alumni resources at
  • We expanded our alumni outreach programming with an e-newsletter and a number of special events throughout Southern Colorado. You can learn more on at
  • Forensics options have been added to both the BACJ and MCJ programs.
  • SPA has had significant increased enrollment in the BACJ, MCJ and MPA programs.
  • Dr. Penny Culbreth-Graft joined the School of Public Affairs as a Scholar in Residence bringing expertise in local government management.

As the days quickly count down and you consider your year-end giving, let me assure you that your contribution to the School of Public Affairs will have an important and immediate impact on our students and faculty. 

Please make your contribution today using our safe and easy online giving site or by calling 719-255-5101 or 1-800-405-9488.

For more information about the School of Public Affairs and how your gift will make a difference, please visit our website.

Once again, thank you for your support. All the best for 2011!

Dr. Terry Schwartz, Associate Dean
School of Public Affairs

Winter Greetings from the School of Public Affairs

Cheri LeeDecember is an unusual month; for most people it is an odd combination of past and future… with a whole lot of present stuck near the end. The close of a year, and at colleges a close of the first semester, is a great time for looking back at accomplishments (the past year's visions) and looking ahead with dreams for what can be in the year to come. At the UCCS School of Public Affairs, the website, one of 2010's visions, is old news, as are a Southern Colorado Alumni Group and forensic studies options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the future, are such plans as the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree online and a UCCS School of Public Affairs scholarship. The articles this month have that unique December-blend of past and future.

The profile is of a UCCS School of Public Affairs alumna Ms. Pam Sawyer (2008), who is joining the School of Public Affairs as a lecturer. Her class on Sustainability: Politics and Policy is premised on a call for action and a necessary vision for the future. Dr. Penny Culbreth-Graft, once a lecturer, now UCCS School of Public Affairs Scholar in Residence, shares her thoughts on the role of community leaders in troubled times and looking ahead to believe the impossible.

At the UCCS School of Public Affairs, the talk is always about, to use Dr. Culbreth-Graft's word, "tough times to be leading being the best times to be learning." That is what makes the UCCS School of Public Affairs such a remarkable place and its alumni such remarkable people: the past seems to be filled with accomplishments that move the world and its people forward and a vision is always guiding the work toward a better tomorrow.

Wishes from the UCCS School of Public Affairs for your happy 2011!

Cheri Lee
School of Public Affairs

Berliner Receive Honorary Doctorate

Robert BerlinerRobert Berliner, attorney, author, and founder of Berliner & Associates, was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at UCCS commencement ceremonies December 17.

Berliner is known for his expertise in all things relating to intellectual property. University officials consider his service invaluable in protecting the rights and interests of the university's creative minds. With decades of practice in all aspects of intellectual property, he uses his knowledge to benefit the university and its special needs. (More)

Relevant, Interdisciplinary, Thought-Provoking PAD 6600: Sustainability: Politics and Policy

El Pomar Clock TowerThe UCCS School of Public Affairs promotes its programs as relevant, and new on the schedule of courses for spring 2011 is a course exemplifying relevance: Sustainability: Politics and Policy. The public administration class is also cross listed as a geography and political science class. Interdisciplinary thinking in today's world is absolutely necessary for understanding and tackling the most challenging and most complex issues facing our world. The course is open to graduate and upper division undergraduate students. (More)

Culbreth-Graft and Alice Find Hope for Troubled Times: Dream the Impossible

Penny Culbreth-GraftWhat could Alice in Wonderland and Alice have in common with public administrators and the current upheaval in which American cites find themselves? Dr. Penny Culbreth-Graft, UCCS School of Public Affairs Scholar in Residence, used the book to inform her vision for emerging leaders in these troubled times.

Dr. Culbreth-Graft reviewed her first 18 months with the City of Colorado Springs: $90 million in permanent cuts (general fund) and the elimination of 550 full-time positions—mostly filled; decisions to close recreation facilities, removal of trash cans, elimination of five departments, reduction of benefits, a freeze or reduction of salaries, employees' furlough, 1/3 of all street lights turned off, bus service on most routes cut, programs ended throughout all departments, and cancelled capital projects. Alice's dialog with the Red Queen while running up the hill seemed only too true to her experience. (More)

Alumni Profile: Pamala Sawyer, MPA 2008

Pam SawyerMs. Pamala Sawyer, MPA 2008, advises current students in the UCCS Master of Public Administration program to "take charge of your learning experience and make the most of every opportunity possible, but at the same time, enjoy the process." Pam lives her life this way. She describes herself as process oriented. That is probably why she was happy working on her Master of Public Administration; it is a process oriented degree. (More)

UCCS Launches Weekend University

Snow-Covered UCCSUCCS is now offering Saturday courses in a condensed 10 week format via Weekend University!  Courses begin Feb. 12th and conclude April 30th.  Now you have the option to study on Saturdays without interrupting your weekday routine!  No charge for parking and scholarships are available for fall 2011.  For further information about Weekend University please visit our website or contact us at or 719-255-3498. 

Alumni and Friends Association Scholarship Recipient: James Vedral

James VedralI am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Physics. Although it is a very challenging field, I find that it is very rewarding and want to someday use my knowledge of physics to address some of humanity's most challenging problems. I am working with Dr. Anatoliy Pinchuk's research team to address these issues. We currently have several projects that could lead to breakthroughs in cancer treatment, photovoltaic efficiency, and many other fields.

I feel strongly about volunteering and take time every year to help my community in some way. I hope to always continue this tradition and someday pass it along to my children. However, volunteering was becoming increasingly difficult with graduate school and work. Thanks to the Alumni Association Scholarship, I was able to give back to the community by donating time to local food drives and a winter coat drive for elementary school children. I want to thank the Alumni Association for their generosity, help, and everything they do. Without them the University would not be the great place it is today.

Grandma Joins Graduates

Debbie LapioliDebbie Lapioli was pragmatic when asked how she would use time off near the Thanksgiving holiday.

"I've got a paper due – that's what I'll be doing on my day off," Lapioli, executive assistant, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, said before elaborating on holiday plans that included visiting family.

It's not the first vacation day devoted to study in Lapioli's 14-year quest to complete a bachelor's degree at UCCS. But it may be the last as she is set to join an estimated 500 graduates Dec. 17 at the World Arena participating in commencement exercises.

"I've earned a Ph.D. in life," Lapioli says. "But I wanted a B.A. in communication." (More)

Be Among the First to Display your UCCS License Plate

UCCS License PlateJanuary 3 is just around the corner, and for those of you who don't already know, that is the first day that you can pick up your UCCS license plate at your local county clerk. The license plate program is a great way to support your alma mater while showing your Mountain Lion pride. Each plate costs a total of $100 - $50 of which is a tax-deductible contribution to the Alumni and Friends Association Scholarship Fund.

In order to keep the plate in circulation, we must sell 500 plates by January 1, 2012. We're 80 license plates toward reaching that goal, so the time to help us solidify this new program is today. Learn more online or call (719) 255-3180 for details.

Save the Date: 2011 CU Advocacy Day at the State Capitol

Capitol DomeSave the Date for the 2011 CU Advocacy Day on Friday, January 28 from 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Colorado State Capitol (200 East Colfax, Denver, CO). Watch for more details and online registration during the first week of January.

In This Issue

Berliner Receives Honorary Doctorate

Relevant, Interdisciplinary, Thought-Provoking PAD 6600: Sustainability: Politics and Policy

Culbreth-Graft and Alice Find Hope for Troubled Times: Dream the Impossible

Alumni Profile: Pamala Sawyer, MPA 2008

UCCS Launches Weekend University

Alumni and Friends Association Scholarship Recipient: James Vedral

Grandma Joins Graduates

Be Among the First to Display your UCCS License Plate

Save the Date: 2011 CU Advocacy Day at the State Capitol

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Special Thanks to Our Sponsor: Ent Federal Credit Union

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The Office of Alumni Relations would like to extend a special thank you to Ent Federal Credit Union for sponsoring the 2010 issue of The Roar. Ent Federal Credit Union is the leading financial institution in Southern Colorado with over 50 years of experience serving the community. Ent is a not-for-profit, community-chartered credit union with 27 service centers, offering personal and business banking services to those in the Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Denver areas. Ent offers a variety of services and conveniences, giving members the FREEDOM to live life on their own terms.