SPA Honors: Dean David Birdsell (left) and Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein (right) honored Amy Hagedorn (’58) and 10 other alumni at the School of Public Affairs 20th anniversary celebration in May 2015. Photo by Elena Olivo.

With more than 580 alumni, faculty, staff, and students in attendance, Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs (SPA) celebrated its 20th anniversary in grand style at the New Yorker Hotel in May 2015.

Addressing the enthusiastic crowd, SPA Dean David Birdsell highlighted the school’s incredible growth. “We opened up 20 years ago with 230 students, all of them MPA students,” he recalled. “Today, we are one of the three largest schools of public affairs in the United States. We have not 230 but 1,230 students.”

The night was as much a celebration of the guests as it was of the school. Baruch President Mitchel B. Wallerstein noted that everyone in attendance had played a role in the school’s remarkable success: “The collective achievements and visibility of faculty, students, and alumni have grown SPA’s reputation and the value and prestige of SPA’s degrees.” He added his congratulations to the assemblage “for all that you’ve achieved and all that you make possible in the many communities you serve: government, education, healthcare, and nonprofits.”

Among the event’s individual honorees were Lorenzo Brown (MPA ’02), Nathaniel Cruz (MSEd ’95), Michelle DePass (MPA ’99), Linda Fasulo (MPA ’77), Fernando Ferrer (MPA ’04), Jonathan Justice (MPA ’94), Gary Lanigan (MPA ’80), Joseph Merlino (MPA ’92), William Ramos (MPA ’06), and Fatima Shama (EMPA ’08), who took home Distinguished Alumni Awards. And Amy Hagedorn (’58), one of the school’s most significant benefactors, received a special honor for her generosity.

“We owe support to the next generation of scholars and civic innovators now studying at the School of Public Affairs,” Hagedorn maintained. “The world seems so full of bad news these days, but we can all take heart in knowing that these young people, and many others to follow at Baruch, will be the source of future good news in so many ways.”

—Gregory M. Leporati

Global Recognition: In mid-September, the School of Public Affairs earned reaccreditation by NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration) for an additional seven years, through the 2021-22 academic year. “NASPAA accreditation is the global standard of excellence in public affairs education, and Baruch is proud to be the first institution in New York City to gain NASPAA recognition for an MPA program, back in 1980,” said Dean Birdsell. Fewer than 180 schools worldwide have earned accreditation.